A! Magazine for the Arts

Linda Parsons Marion writes of home and the earth it's built on.

Linda Parsons Marion writes of home and the earth it's built on.

Poetry: Linda Parson Marion Speaks From The Heart

March 24, 2009

Linda Parsons Marion writes of home and the earth it's built on. Through poems of childhood and gardening, she sings and grieves for the lost and the found in her life, for the many struggles and failings of the human heart. She is the author of two poetry collections, Home Fires and Mother Land. The latter combines gardening poems with work about her mother, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder late in life. The poems show how the inner and outer landscapes work together to bring about healing, acceptance, and forgiveness.

Marion has received two literary fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals. She is an editor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the poetry editor of Now & Then magazine.



by Linda Parsons Marion

Though I have permission, it feels like robbery --
engine idling in the alley, scissors ready for
the meatiest stalks: blood-veined chard and coarse
collard, tender whorls of rocket and arugula.
Late leaves flutter as I pad the raised beds
of my daughter's fall garden, flavors deepened
by cold. Years before she cared much about green,
I repeated the tune of earth's alphabet:
A for acorn, O for oak, the parent crowns
over the child. Buttercups multiply here
and yon, chins yellow as sun, come spread
your inheritance on the run.

She must have caught in cuff or pocket a stray
burr or seed, for now her yard rambles in butternut
globes, peppers lanterned with twine. Rows
purpling in ruby beets, blushed heads of broccoli,
my daughter speaks, and stringbeans poke
heaven's backside. Something incandescent
must have taken root, her pretending not to hear
all those vegetable excitations, the dirt's untold
story worming a path to her heart.



by Linda Parsons Marion

It surrounded her like the sea: sofa, chairs, Formica
counter, even the melamine plates some shade of aqua,
all the rage in 1960. At twenty, she dove into life's well,
marrying my father, who hid his nine older years
behind a salesman's ease. At her round table, I swiveled
on the sherbet-colored stools, wash of blue on blue
swimming past -- robin's egg, cobalt, turquoise, sky.
I brought her those days my ache for breath, startled
mouth and gills, freckled sheen dulled brown, left
my mother's house on the lee shore of shifting sands.
She bundled me in woven creel, feathered fern
and sage, our currents riding tidal surge, divergent
cloud, divining pool of far-gone cares; while I, furtive
minnow, swept along in her phosphorescent wake.

Reprinted with permission from Mother Land (Iris Press, 2008)

-- Jeff Daniel Marion: 'The Man Who Love Hummingbirds'
-- Back to Main story: Regional Poets Celebrate National Poetry Month