I love what’s wild
more than anything cultivated
to an excess so bewildering
the essence is lost.
The wild Nootka rose, for example,
with its plain, flat, five-petaled flower,
and the purest smell of any blossom
I’ve had the pleasure to put my nose in.
And, though the blooms fall quickly
apart, its bursting hips will make
a tart and healing tea
when cold winter comes.
This much I share with old Henry
the bean farmer— who soon
abandoned his rows, gone
sauntering into the woods —
a love of what is most free
and most wild, like wild roses,
and the tiny wild strawberries,
I found this morning, walking,
within whose fingertip-sized fruit
hides the sweetest juice I’ve tasted,
no small thing for a thing
so small and so wild.
And, in them, too, as in all wildness—
so the bean farmer said,
and I believe it’s true—
lies the preservation of the world.