R. L. Swihart

Here We Go ‘Round

I’ve seen a weasel maybe once in my life. I looped the video, so his head kept going up and down in the hole:

an everlasting Jack-in-the-Box


This was a tree, not a bush. It grew on the east corner of Mr. Blum’s yard, near the road and the curve where Clarke became Waverly. It wasn’t in his yard, it was in the field (unplanted, unmowed), so as kids we always

assumed first come, first served and,
unless the birds got there before us,

there’d be plenty


Precedents and prep:

Read about Johnny Appleseed

Read about Dante’s rose (Paradiso, Canto XXXI) and see Dore’s illustration of Dante’s rose (c. 1868)

Read Rilke’s epitaph then Celan’s Niemandsrose


Ideas are only ideas until we embody them in stone. Raise them to the roof. As often as not, to our detriment. To grow my rose, I’ll need to buy some land around the old tree. That will take some time. I’m guessing two Summers

I have the money. I have the time

Some demolition and cleanup will probably be required, e.g., Blum’s house should go (Blum died years ago and the house sits empty)


Fast forward: I wanted the old tree as the center, but there were some problems with that. The tree is over fifty years old. I’ve been told (I no longer live close) that the tree is now a barren snag (I’ll enshrine that snag in bronze)

Besides, the old tree is too close to the road

Revision: I’ll need another center

The field is still open (unmowed, unplanted) until you get to the woods, mostly oaks and maples, with a small creek running / jogging through the middle. I’ll have to buy all that from Mr. Lewis, but surely he’s passed and so I’ll probably be dealing with his son Ned

I’ll make some paths and clearings in the woods (as needed). I’ll build a bridge or two over the creek (for easier access, beauty). Perhaps I’ll need to buy more land, on either side of Clarke and Waverly

Perhaps I’ll need to tear down an old fence and a barn


I know a little CAD, but I prefer the old-fashioned way. I like manipulating the drawing tools I used in school. I like a sharp pencil. I like the feel of new paper. I like to swing an arc. I made some calculations. I made some more. I made a drawing (whose center was the paper’s)

Out there the land is only slightly rolling

Out there I’ll find a new center in that only mildly undulating land. I will prepare eight half-mile-long spokes (new trees will grow along the spokes)

I will prepare the circumference (new trees will grow around the circle)


Then and only then will I buy the seeds. Having accomplished all of the prerequisites, I will buy the seeds from Sheffield’s (I’m impressed with the reviews I’ve seen online):

Morus rubra, four packets (more than enough) @ 83% germination

I will follow their directions, though I don’t think their directions were written for the “inexperienced planter.” I’m inexperienced, but I’m not afraid of doing the homework

Before the cold comes, I’ll start planting; ideally, in Autumn. That should be doable

Maybe it’s a bad idea

About the Author

R. L. Swihart’s work has sparsely dotted online and print journals, including Cordite, Pif Magazine, The Literary Bohemian, Offcourse, Otoliths, Denver Quarterly, Quadrant Magazine, and Poetry South. His third book of poetry was released in July 2020 by Woodhenge. Originally from Michigan, he now lives in Long Beach, California.