Video: It Takes a Garden to Raise a Community

A poem, penned by Khalilah Bilal, of Beacon Hill Community Garden, San Antonio, Texas: 

Choking in anger, anger sat in my bowels

It is the fiber of my hair, debilitated from fear
I begin to weed, it takes the pain away.

It takes a garden to raise a community

I found solace in the garden, rising before dawn

I leave before the heat of day, my body welcomes me to go.

Destiny provides a way for me to return to a place that Dorothy called home.

In the garden I’m able to talk to myself,

My roots anchor to the collective subconscious that has no name,

A dimension where time is an illusion, and the garden is my place to find solutions.

It takes time to nibble on raw okra

Stringbeans, submitted to the womb of the earth.

It takes a garden to raise a community.

atlanta community garden

Working in the garden is prayer.

Putting together a structure to hold pole beans is meditation.

Every moonday with a friend, sacred books are read

Wounds are healed, a neighbor recruited to dig a hole

Children gather rocks, some gather straw to put around a transplanted tree.

Children ask to water, some rather throw a frisbee.

It takes a garden to raise a community.

First and second grade students from Oakdale Christian School work to loosen plants from the plastic bottles they planted them in from seeds at Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church. The church parking lot is hosting a an urban garden. (Jessica Scott | The Grand Rapids Press)

First and second grade students from Oakdale Christian School work to loosen plants from the plastic bottles they planted them in from seeds at Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church. The church parking lot is hosting a an urban garden. (Jessica Scott | The Grand Rapids Press)

Chi flows, burdens of sorrow removed from the heart, clouds pull apart.

Gently placing seeds in soil, looking up to catch the cats at play

Reminds me to live gently, and in a certain way.

The garden gives me new beginning, initiating love planted in my heart

As I watch the birds and butterflies and bees do their part

Insects we hardly praise.

Bringing together unlike faces transform them into unspoken cooperation

Hose fixers, grass cutters, welders, planters, compost keepers

Soil and mulch deliverers, movie night planners, sign makers

Tree trimmers and pruners, people that water thristy plants

Hole-diggers, garbage hunters, seed and plant bringers

It takes a community to raise a garden.

flatbush_unity_garden

I have survived the pain of my internal wounds.

I’m confident now that I’m not meant to live alone but in community

Learning to share thoughts and ideas, caring about the little ones that live near.

It takes a garden to raise a community.

Being part of Beacon Hill Community Garden has taught me how to live with others in harmony.

Disagree without being disagreeable

Feeling frustration without being absorbed

The ebb and flow of emotions is part of my community.

Like the fingers on a hand each gardener distinguished separate but work as one

Yet find something in common before conversation ends.

It takes a garden to raise a community.

commuity garden

To bring together unlike faces, men helping women with smiles on their faces

Women helping women, jobs that would be hard to do with just one.

It takes a garden to raise a community.

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