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This world is a garden fearfully made
an unruly orchard once well formed
though now decayed I am a gardener
who mourns well-meaning overwhelmed

misguided having let children run amuck
through border beds They’ve torn
iris leaves for wispy swords trampled stems
& muddied blooms beneath their rubber soles

I dare not look to left or right Rodent holes
appear under fences Wild winds have broken
branches It’s more than we can handle on our own
I despair of loss It’s all needing repair

You’ve made me & this garden & will your work
decay? I’m a dried-out vegetable patch overrun
with weeds an olive orchard filled with tears
I look to you to conquer all my fears

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

D.S. Martin

D.S. Martin is the author of five poetry collections, including Angelicus (2021), Ampersand (2018), and Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis (2013) — all from Cascade Books. He is Poet-in-Residence at McMaster Divinity College, the Series Editor for the Poiema Poetry Series. He and his wife live in Brampton, Ontario; they have two adult sons.


  • Susan C says:

    DS Martin: There it is—a transparent litany of the imperfect nature of life—book-ended by being fearfully made and looking to God to conquer all fears. You’ve captured the essence of utter dependence on God.

  • Ryan Apple says:

    “Overwhelmed/misguided/having let children run amuck”: You nicely show how much of the mess of our lives is our own doing or neglect of doing. I look forward to reading the others in this series!

  • Laurie Klein says:

    D.S. Martin: O those wily “rodents” (may I offer my argh, in empathic solidarity) and then “the olive orchard filled with tears” — both images seized my soul and imagination. I also admire the way the word “wonderfully” secretly resonates beneath line one and undergirds the whole poem, like graceful fungal networks silently, generously, sustaining plant life the world over. Well done!