The Ting of the Trowel

Convallaria_majalis_By_FoeNyx_via Wikimedia Commons

Convallaria majalis by FoeNyx, via Wikimedia Commons


The Ting of the Trowel

My cold shovel pings edges
of a buried brick walk
lined with river rock.
Ivy crawls over this old garden.
Disrespect and neglect
is a predictable garden story.
Time rounds the edges
and moves the mud.

I trowel off gray-green clay
and roll aside marker stones.
Red-green stippled nipples slow
my fingers in chilled, muddy gloves.
Weed? Friend? Foe? Familiar.

That round we sang in grade school . . .

   White coral bells upon a slender stalk
   Lilies of the valley bless my garden walk.
   Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear them ring,
   that can happen only when the fairies sing.

Come spring, they’ll send out my grandmother’s smell
on linen handkerchiefs – this green work
of some forgotten gardener.

I reset her straying bricks,
herd her river-rock.
  I pebble you,
  honor your lilies
  wherever you are,
perhaps a nursing home.

Tricia Knoll


Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet who has maintained gardens all her life, sowing the seeds of sanity. She grew up admiring her mother’s roses and vegetable garden. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and volunteers at Portland’s Washington Park Rose Test Garden. Her chapbook Urban Wild is available from Amazon and focuses on interactions between humans and wildlife in urban habitat.

Her lyric and eco-poetry of  Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press) focuses on a small town on the Oregon coast, Manzanita. Website:
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