While I Was Doing Something Else

I guess
a Walnut Tree’s been growing
near my house.

I found this big green nut, out on the lawn.
Where from?
My trees are ever green, I thought.
A squirrel?

I went and looked.
And there it was.
It must have sprouted up
Over the last few years, I guess,
While I was doing something else.

I showed the green nut
to my son,
He said,
“What’s inside?”

I thought back to the
very first time
I saw one.
“What’s inside?”
I said.


My Aunt
had walnuts
on her lawn.

A menace to the grass (I do recall her saying, more than once)
But wonderful
So wonderful,
To sit (or play) beneath.
On summer days,
When we were young.

“It’s magic,” she would say.
And crack it open,
To reveal,
A darker,

Brown, richly swirling woody coloured Nut.

She’d rub it with her hands,
Her gardener’s hands,
With fingers bent,
And knuckles calloused.
Pointing with her index finger
Just the way she always did.

We’d talk of how a seed,
A nut, or tiny flower seed
Knew all
It had to know
To make another self.

(Would that our learning stayed genetic
Like that seed!
Our youth
Get Schooled.)

“A game,” she said,
“We used to play.”

“You see, you take a nail,
A string, and poke it through
And smash yours on another’s,
’til one breaks…”
A battle game,
From childhood,
She would play with brothers, sisters, and my mom.

“OH NO” I’d said.
“We learned at school,
Just like those clackers,
made of glass.
They shatter.
Mind your eyes!

I never played the nut game.

Still, the nut was magic.


And so,
I found the green nut
On the counter.
Yet again,
The kitchen.)

I heard my son’s voice,
(in my mind this time)
asking me,
“So, what’s inside?”

Our conversation,
just the other day,
While I was doing something else.