The speaker of this long poem is recovering from seven weeks of pneumonia, during which time he has been completely bedridden. On the day of the poem, he has just arisen and makes preparations to cook a pot of tomato soup with herbs and vegetables from his (now overgrown) garden. The poem describes the beginning of the day when the speaker gathers the food from the garden, later in the day when he applies various natural remedies, and the evening when he finally drinks the soup.


This is a poem of some 147 lines employing such vivid images as "the cold gray clouds / gathered in my lungs" and the "Spanish moss of pneumonia" hanging "in the branches of my lungs." The poem is a meditation on the process of recovery and especially the will to be healthy. It is a beautiful, slow moving poem that evokes the slowness of the patient as he carefully makes his way through his first day out of bed and quietly celebrates the earth's remedies and the body's healing properties.

Primary Source

A Perfect Time: Poems by Richard Jones


Copper Canyon

Place Published

Port Townsend, Wash.