UPDATE FROM ROBERT: Mark Doty just published a new collection of his poetry. He calls it "Deep Lane", and as usual, he celebrates elemental things, his bounding dog Ned, his flower garden, getting a good haircut, working a vegetable patch. When he pulls an ordinary radish out of the ground, in his careful handling that simple root becomes quietly regal. Doty finds nobility everywhere, which is why, on hard days, I go back to him and back to him and back to him -- because, for all he's been through, he won't stop loving the world. This is him, yanking the radish up....
...so the whole plant lifts
in a sweet-scented loose clump,
good mineral dirt falling from the white roots
and the accomplishment at their center: jewel-toned,
Russian somehow, artful, varied, contradicting Leonardo,
who wrote that nature does nothing unnecessary;
how would he account for this two-toned cylinder,
voguish red giving way, near the tip,
to a ghost-swath of muslin....
Mark finds more to admire in a raw vegetable than I ever will. He has the eye of a jeweler. Everywhere he looks, he sees gems.