Monday, June 4, 2012

Seventy-Two is Not Thirty-Five

at the Zaner Garden

This poem is reprinted with the kind permission of the author, poet David Budbill, a passionate vegetable gardener for the past 40 years.  It's dedicated to the Through Our Garden Gates hosts and the many volunteers who made Saturday's tour a huge success!

Seventy-Two is Not Thirty-Five

I spent seven hours yesterday at my daughter's house
helping her expand their garden by at least ten times.
We dug up sod by the shovelful, shook off the dirt as
best we could; sod into the wheelbarrow and off to the
pile at the edge of the yard. Then all that over and over
again. Five hours total work-time, with time out for lunch
and supper. By the time I got home I knew all too well
that seventy-two is not thirty-five; I could barely move.

I got to quit earlier than Nadine. She told me I'd done
enough and that I should go get a beer and lie down on
the chaise lounge and cheer her on, which is what I did.

All this made me remember my father forty years ago
helping me with my garden. My father's dead now, and
has been dead for many years, which is how I'll be one
of these days too. And then Nadine will help her child,
who is not yet here, with her garden. Old Nadine, aching
and sore, will be in my empty shoes, cheering on her own.

So it goes. The wheel turns, generation after generation,
around and around. We ride for a little while, get off and
somebody else gets on. Over and over, again and again.

David Budbill
18 May 2012

Find out more about David and his writing at or find him on Facebook at


  1. I am agree with all of you..
    Thank you for post..

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  2. With 65+ years, I have learned to live passionately and go where I am loved and cherish whom and what I love. I loved all I saw on Through Our Garden Gates. Linda Overton Phillips


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