Haiku for gardeners
Rotten stuff happens
to both good and bad people;
it’s not punishment.
When people suffer,
have empathy; don’t blame them
for imagined sins.
These words are for all;
reflect on where you’re headed,
be ready to change.
A vineyard owner
plants a fig tree, comes looking
for fruit. There is none.
Three years to produce
and still the tree is barren.
Let’s get rid of it.
The gardner shows grace.
One more year, some manure
and care: Let’s see.
Always one more chance.
So our master seeks for us
to become fruitful.
The chance to bear fruit;
justice, love and hope-filled peace.
Always one more chance.
© Ken Rookes 2019
If Jesus had been strolling around
southern Australia today,
rather than Palestine in the first-century,
he’d have dropped his fig-tree metaphor
and gone with the Jacaranda.
“Look at the Jacaranda,” he’d say.
“When it puts forth its purple-Advent flowers,
to compete luminescently
with the sky and to carpet the earth below
in a circle of blue;
can summer be far behind?
No; nor God’s kingdom.”
Hail to you, wondrous tree of purple;
transplanted two hundred years ago
from another new world.
Your dazzling hue has ensured your welcome.
Like the land’s many human inhabitants
you regard yourself as a true-born native,
among the greens, reds and yellows
of indigenous eucalypts and wattles.
The arboretum’s John the Prophet,
landscape herald of one who is coming
and of the remarkable kingdom
of hope and justice.
(For which, we still yearn.)
For a month you shine, harbinger
of the extraordinary,
until your flowers fall and fade,
your leaves of green resume their rightful place,
and we are returned to our ordinary lives.
There our achings are embraced,
tasks and challenges are taken up,
and we get on with it.
© Ken Rookes 2015
If you repent,
the much-loved doctrine declares,
you will be forgiven.
A simple-enough transaction,
with the reception of forgiveness transmuted,
by divine alchemy, into the golden currency
of paradisiacal admittance.
With much tears and wailing, repentance is enacted,
souls are pronounced saved,
and heaven’s host, we are told, prepares another room.
But what if repentance is no mere turning point,
arrived at once and finally?
What if it is an attitude that grows, develops,
and manifests itself in actions;
many and uncounted, small and large;
with an impetus towards sharing and justice
and generosity and peace?
And what if the second chance grace
is all about such fruitfulness?
Fig tree fruits from plants worth their place
in the garden.
© Ken Rookes 2013