‘the gardener’ by Lisa Zhang1 min read

13 January, 2017 2 comments


Animated Illustration by Meghan Ang

i heard from my mother that
i must be a complete person
before i can love.
well, i have been an architect.
i have poured concrete for years,
and i have a brutal building
that looks built to last.

that’s a mistake –
to try to outlast life.
i will never be whole.

for all my learning,
i know less than socrates
but I do know this:
you deserve something that grows –
let us be gardeners.

i want to love you in a tangle of vines –
i’ll peer through the mess of green
and there you’ll be, okay with me as I am –
as I cry inside a fleece like a child
or cut down enemies with my mother’s tongue.

let us tend to our garden each day.
each night,
there’s the routine:
the light of a litle lamp for us to share.
we sleep in a small jungle
until i am in dreamland –
you are senseless till morning

Lisa Zhang is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of British Columbia. Her work deals with perfectionism and its effects on psychotherapy. When not writing academic articles, she writes fiction and poetry.

Animated Illustration by Meghan Ang



Valerie 20 January, 2017 - 3:12 pm

I love this poem! It makes me smile every time I read it again ❤️️

Bianca 28 November, 2017 - 2:28 pm

What a moving poem about life and acceptance. Thank you for shedding light on the importance of embracing who you are — imperfections and all — and for articulating the value of softening life’s expectations in order to make room for growth. I often like to think of my own life as a garden that I constantly tend to, so your poem really resonated with me. At times, life truly does feel like a “mess of green”, but being able to identify this as a source of growth is, to me, what matters above all.


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