Plants have become more than just a trend; they have become a symbol of beauty, versatility, and popularity. From succulents to snake plants, these green creatures have found their way into our Instagram feeds and our homes. During the quarantine, plant subscriptions and gardening surged, driven by the understanding that foliage can greatly improve our mental, emotional, and physical health. This connection between plants and well-being is not new; in fact, it has been explored through poetry for centuries.
Plant Companions: A Source of Nurture and Love
Tony Connor, in his poem “Bringing in the House-Plants,” published in a 1980 issue of Poetry Magazine, captures the essence of caring for plants. Long before the current houseplant craze, Connor understood that tending to plant companions awakens our nurturing instincts and taps into our ability to love. In his poem, he vows to provide enough love to ensure their survival, even if the dim rooms of his house are not ideal for their thriving.
Healing Through Grief: The Peace Lilies
Cathy Smith Bowers, in her poem “Peace Lilies,” explores the comforting nature of plants. Often given as symbols of sympathy or housewarming gifts, plants have the power to remind us of our grief while also offering a soothing presence in times of loss and transition. Bowers beautifully captures this sentiment by highlighting how little plants require of us, yet their mere presence can summon us with a gentle unfurling of their leaves.
Personal Growth as a Perennial Blooming
Aeon Ginsberg, in the poem “Poem in Which I Transition into a Succulent,” reflects on the parallels between plant transformations and personal growth. Published in the online journal Wildness, Ginsberg weaves together their own journey of self-discovery with the growth of a plant. They assert that nurturing our true purposes and identities empowers us to flourish, even if the path is non-linear and challenging. Ginsberg’s words remind us that our voices and identities can endure, persisting long after our initial struggles.
Reconnecting with Our Natural Essence
James Wright, through his poem “To the Saguaro Cactus Tree in the Desert Rain,” invites us to reconnect with nature. Written long before the rise of corporate and technology-dominated lifestyles, Wright’s poem challenges our sense of disconnection by presenting a way to escape it. Born out of poverty and shaped by factory work, Wright sees humans as an integral part of nature. He finds beauty and worth in the Saguaro tree, suggesting that we too possess inherent beauty that should be celebrated.
Poetry and plants have always shared a special bond. They both offer solace, growth, and a connection to the natural world. Just as plants require care, nurturing, and love to thrive, so do our own spirits. So, the next time you look at a plant, consider the poetry it embodies. Let the beauty and resilience of both inspire you to nurture yourself and the world around you.
For further inspiration, visit the Ames Farm Center and explore the harmony between poetry and plants.