California Native Flowers
In this spring of 1968 with the last
third of the Twentieth Century
travelling like a dream toward its
end, it is time to plant books,
to pass them into the ground, so that
flowers and vegetables may grow
from these pages.
The time is right to mix sentences
with dirt and the sun
with punctuation and the rain with
verbs, and for worms to pass
through question marks, and the
stars to shine down on budding
nouns, and the dew to form on
The only hope we have is our
children and the seeds we give them
and the gardens we plant together.
I pray that in thirty-two years
passing that flowers and vegetables
will water the Twenty-First Cen-
tury with their voices telling that
they were once a book turned by
loving hands into life.
Sweet Alyssum Royal Carpet
I’ve delighted to live in a world where
books are changed into thousands
of gardens with children playing
in the gardens and learning the gen-
tle ways of green growing things.
My friends worry and they tell me
about it. They talk of the world
ending, of darkness and disaster.
I always listen gently, and then
say: No, it’s not going to end. This
is only the beginning, as this book
is only a beginning.
I think the spring of 1968 is a good
time to look into our blood and
see where our hearts are flowing
as these flowers and vegetables
will look into their hearts every day
and see the sun reflecting like a
great mirror their desire to live
and be beautiful.
I thank the energy, the gods and the
theater of history that brought
us here to this very moment with
this book in our hands, calling
like the future down a green and
– richard brautigan