Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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Poetry Friday: “New Hampshire Rock Garden”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllToday I thought I’d share something summery, for adults.  I wrote this a few years ago, and deliberately used a simple, straightforward, prosaic style…because it just felt like that’s what the subject required. Consequently, it’s nothing fancy, but I like it. Hope you do, too!

“New Hampshire Rock Garden”

My wife wanted a rock garden
I preferred vegetables
so I pulled out stones
and planted tomatoes
pulled out more stones
watered the squash
pulled out more stones
thinned the cukes
pulled out more stones
weeded the beans
and when it came time for harvest
pulled out more stones.

She has a rock garden, all right.


– © 2009, Matt Forrest Esenwine


Sherry at Semicolon was scheduled to host Poetry Friday today, but since she doesn’t seem to be around, I’ve provided a list of some of the folks participating. If you have a post, please feel free to leave it in the comments! I can’t guarantee I’ll have time to repost everyone’s links, but hopefully visitors will scan through the comments and see what piques their interest!

Robyn Hood Black interviews Margarita Engle:

Michelle Barnes has an original poem inspired by her daughter:

Father Goose shares a “Couplet at a Metaphor:”

Writing about difficult subjects is Laura Shovan’s subject today:

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche wrote a poem inspired while attending Kate Messner’s virtual writer’s camp:

Catherine Johnson has two left feet:

Irene Latham shares some beautiful Valerie Worth poems:

Diane Mayr shares her experience at a New Hampshire writer’s retreat:

Diane also has a “Cocoon” poem at Kurious Kitty:

And a quote about the “wild mind” from Michael Hettich:

Linda Baie is feeling vacation anticipation:

Liz Steinglas shares a poem she wrote last summer about an iconic summer flower:

Mary Lee Hahn  also has sunflowers on her mind…sleds, too!

Joy Acey shares a modern haiku:

Tabatha Yeats points out some of the highlights of the journal, Still:


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29 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “New Hampshire Rock Garden”

  1. Somehow, recently celebrating 29 years of marriage makes me smile at this poem. Could have layers of interpretation – For me, you’ve captured the repetition, the humor, and even the reluctant “maybe your way is/was better” involved in a successful marriage! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the smile, Matt. :)

  3. Pingback: Sometimes | Reflections on the Teche

  4. margaretsmn on said:

    Matt, Thanks for taking on the roundup today.
    Love the repetition in your poem. I’ve been married 31 years and only made it this far through constant communication and give and take. Here’s to a flourishing garden in your current marriage.

  5. That is so cryptic I almost don’t understand it. I like the meeting of minds. Thanks a lot for doing the round-up :0)

    • Thanks, Folks! Catherine, I tried to give it a bit of double-meaning: it can be interpreted as the give-and-take of a marriage, as some have indicated…or it could simply be a vegetable garden full of stones. (which is literally what our garden is like!)

      • At least you’ve got the vegetables too. I got the other meaning, just wasn’t sure if it was veggies and stones or if one was a metaphor. Easily stumped, I can’t even answers questions about my own poem lol.

  6. If starting a garden (marriage), one does find rocks, & sometimes buried deeply. You’ve shown such a wonderful metaphor here, & then (from your comment above), perhaps there is just soil filled with rocks. Thanks for hosting quickly, Matt! I have a Wendell Berry poem about vacations today, advice for myself since I’m leaving tomorrow for the beach!

  7. Hi Matt, Thanx for pinch-hitting! Talking trees and then some over at The Florian Cafe today

  8. Talking trees at The Florian Cafe. Thanx for pinch-hitting!

  9. Pingback: Poetry Friday | Semicolon

  10. I love the poem, Matt! = )

    I posted over at Sherry’s and will post here, too–my Poetry Friday post today is about one of my favorite places in the world, Charleston, SC.

  11. It’s the humor that makes it all okay in the end.

  12. Matt,
    Thanks for pulling things together at the last minute while also doing 20 other things.

  13. Thanks you, Matt for stepping in. I’m so sorry for my forgetfulness. The post is up now, but I figure links here and there are even better. The more poetry in the world, the better.

    • Thank you all for stopping by! I’m on my way out the door to bring the Little Dude to his grandparents out-of-state, so I hope to check out all the other links when I get back or over the weekend. Hope I wasn’t stepping on your toes, Sherry…just wasn’t sure what was up; I do hope you’re feeling better. Have a good weekend!

  14. Both kinds of gardens have their own charm! I like the back-and-forth, Matt, and I think you were right about the straightforward style being what was needed.

  15. What a fun and true poem…about so many things. You got a giggle out of me, the weed gardener! And yes, thank you for coming to the Poetry Friday rescue today! We appreciate it.

    Over at The Poem Farm, I have a small poem about building, I welcome some neato second graders who share about Fun Poetry Mondays, and George Welgemoed is back with two more wonderful poemdesigns.

    Happy Poetry Friday to all! xo, a.

  16. Pingback: Poetry Friday: A Splot, Buildings, and A Windmill | Reading to the Core

  17. I just got home from a 2-day writing retreat — thank you so much for grabbing my link and for filling in as host for Sherry. That’s what I love about this community — we’re a community and we take care of each other!

  18. Matt,
    I like your stone garden poem. Like Demonstenese, (gosh I hope I spelled that stone guy’s name right) being married often makes us swallow stones. You can always take her to Japan to see the Zen gardens, or there are small desk-top kits for making your own Zen garden that she could play with.
    I’ve been doing some research on the history of children’s poetry this week and have found several references to Iona Opie that give her and her husband Peter Opie credit for identifying children’s poetry as a worthy and seperate area for research and study (as opposed to lumping it in with adult poetry.) Iona Opie turns 90 next October. Is there any one in the Poetry Friday group who has met her, or has an Iona Opie story? I’d love to chat with them. If anyone has information, you can reach me at

    Oh, since I post a new poem everyday, I’ve got two spine poems up today and my usual poetry challenge on my blog at

  19. Thanks for helping out today, Matt! As a New England gardener, I can totally relate to your “rock garden.” Their endless supply never ceases to amaze me!

    Today I’m sharing “Buildings” by Myra Cohn Livingston and a student’s poem it helped inspire:

    Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

  20. Love your poem! Our garden always seems to be a rock garden too! Thanks for coming to the rescue today!

  21. dmayr on said:

    Hi Matt! Great poem! And many thanks for posting my links while I was off at work! You are very kind.

  22. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: July 27, 2013 | Semicolon

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