Some poems resist working. They fight inquisitiveness into any of the secrets of their composition and critical decomposition.
Contrary to what it may tell you, Sonnet #1 is not a sonnet. It doesn’t follow any sonnet scheme. It could, tangentially, be said to follow a sonnet’s argumentative pattern (thesis, antithesis) but this is a stretch. Also, this isn’t new. Poets have been calling the strangest things sonnets since the time when it was the dominant poetic form. It isn’t new, but I think it helps this poem make meaning.
Sonnet #1 is, in essence, about gardening and about writing. In its most cultivated form, gardening is like a sonnet: based on tradition, entrenched in form and rules, rhyming of colour and species, a symbol of civility. Kroetsch says as much with that first line and its colon pointing to the blank white of page stock: my garden is the page and this is my garden/sonnet….