2. New Growth
The vine’s white nubs grow
Downy, fragile buds breaking
Free from the vine’s bark
Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a vine planting clinic at William+Chris Winery in Hye, Texas. I was lucky enough to learn a little about grape growing from Chris Brundrett (Chris of William+Chris). The short session under the sun gave me food for thought. Particularly, I realized why so many poets have a thing for gardening, farming, and growing. The link between the two is obvious.
Grapes are temperamental from the start. First, they are not fond of oxygen. When the vines re planted, they are packed down tight so as to make sure the air doesn’t reach their roots. They like to be snuggled into the earth, surrounded by the dark, soft soil. I suppose poetry is not so different. A good poem is temperamental, as it wants just the right words packed in it. The feelings a poem expresses are nestled in a blanket of words, and if the blanket doesn’t grasp it just right, the meaning is muddled and unclear.
As I have learned in the last week, since planting my vine, grapes take their time. For over a week, my husband kept fretting that we had killed our vine (after the vine clinic we took home our own vine of Cabernet Sauvignon). Every day, I reminded him to be patient. Well, in just over a week, we are seeing our first signs. Two of the four possible nubs on our vine are clearly growing.
One other looks like it is about to grow as well. These growths are small, only a mere fraction of what the vine may look like if we stick to this. This is a careful waiting game we are planning. Over the last few years, that has been my relationship to poetry. I keep waiting to see my nubs grow. I think I have some ideas, something to write, but somehow, I can’t get anything to start. I guess I didn’t quite have the inspiration. Now I have a clear topic, something to channel my ideas through. As of this posting, my nubs are finally growing and the words are starting flow. Hopefully, if I am patient, they will get better and there will be more of them.
In both, grapes/wine and poetry, it is all about care. I guess that can be said of all gardening, and I definitely believe poetry is reminiscent of the work put in to grow something. In both cases, we have to be willing to dig deep and make a hole, create a place for the grapes or words to grow from. Then, we nurture as it grows. In time, I will have to prune my grape vine, no different than the revising one must do to any good poem (or any writing for that matter). But in the end, we hope for the same thing, a wondrous elixir that feeds the soul.