Today's poem is by Linda Bierds

Gregor Mendel in the Garden

Black-robed on the green hillside,
he seems less shape than space—Abbot Napp—
a gap in a flock of April lambs.
Then wind opens his wide sleeves and the flock
scatters—his little ones, his progeny, bred, crossbred.

In this first morning light, I am turning
the garden, kneeling and rising, my apron flapping
its own dark wing. Such a daybreak of drops
and ascensions!—winter on the pebble, sunlight
on the nape, and the black soil swallowing

my pea seeds, like beads through a crow's gullet.
With grace and patience, the abbot
would cancel in his scattered lambs
the parasites, the strucks and toxin shards
that yearly fell them. But life's eluded him

and so he breeds for beauty: a triple crimp in wool,
a certain glint in lanolin. And the spiral horn—
that curling cornucopia—corrugated, green-cast,
shaped, he says, by repetition's needs.
(Not unlike your pea pods, Gregor.)

Beautiful, he tells me, those circling, dusty pleats.
And if only he could breed there some brief
continuation. Another swirl, he says, another turn
on matter's slender axis. Another rise—Gregor
another dip. Before the ripping tip.

Copyright © 2005 Linda Bierds All rights reserved
from Kenyon Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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