A Certain Kind of Eden

By Kay Ryan b. 1945 Kay Ryan
It seems like you could, but
you can’t go back and pull
the roots and runners and replant.
It’s all too deep for that.
You’ve overprized intention,
have mistaken any bent you’re given
for control. You thought you chose
the bean and chose the soil.
You even thought you abandoned
one or two gardens. But those things
keep growing where we put them—
if we put them at all.
A certain kind of Eden holds us thrall.
Even the one vine that tendrils out alone
in time turns on its own impulse,
twisting back down its upward course
a strong and then a stronger rope,
the greenest saddest strongest
kind of hope.

Kay Ryan, "A Certain Kind of Eden" from Flamingo Watching. Copyright © 1994 by Kay Ryan.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Beech Press.

Source: Flamingo Watching (Copper Beech Press, 1994)

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Poet Kay Ryan b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Life Choices, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Activities, Gardening, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Metaphor

 Kay  Ryan

Biography

Born in California in 1945 and acknowledged as one of the most original voices in the contemporary landscape, Kay Ryan is the author of several books of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (2006), The Niagara River (2005), and Say Uncle (2000). Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Ryan's tightly compressed, rhythmically dense poetry is often compared to that of Emily . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Life Choices, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Activities, Gardening, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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