Red Wheelbarrow


This morning as I was weeding my flower beds, I noticed my wheelbarrow.  It’s on its side in the dog kennel, which has become storage space since the dog hasn’t used it for at least two years.  William Carlos Williams’ poem popped into my head, probably because I heard the poem on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac recently, on the author’s birthday.  I hope nothing much depends on my own red wheelbarrow, since it’s not good for much in its current condition except turning my thoughts to poetry.

After the red wheelbarrow poem went through my head for awhile, I created a new variation on a famous Frost poem: Stopping by Weeds on a Sunny Day.  Whose weeds these are, I think I know. . . .  They’re mine, because I’ve been neglecting my flower beds ever since I disturbed a nest of wasps in the retaining wall about a month ago, the last time I weeded.  I jumped off the wall, over the goldenrod (Nebraska’s state flower), and managed to escape with only a few stings.  My son heard me shriek from inside the kitchen.

So far this summer, I’ve encountered snakes, mice, and wasps as I weeded.  The wasps were definitely the least pleasant of the wildlife, although Jane, my dog–the walking companion of an earlier post–might disagree, as one of the snakes didn’t take too kindly to her stepping on it.  I should probably concentrate more on my surroundings and less on poetry as I’m weeding.  It might be safer that way.

Incidentally, I just realized that both Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and Red Wheelbarrow are from 1923. Coincidence?