In Spring the gardener finds out death–
What fruit tree limbs did not overwinter.
Some stems twig and bud and bloom,
Some stems splinter.
I lost a limb some seasons back
From my own flesh–my firstborn daughter.
Time healed the break, but I still lack
The apples of her laughter.
Adam lives with his wife and children in central New Mexico near the ranch his great-grandfather lost in the Great Depression. He is a member of the www.jrganymede.com blog.His oldest daughter, Betsey Pearl, died of cancer in the spring of 2005.
You, but not you.
The earth braces itself against
my first spade full €”ground softened by
my salt €”unearthing roots like fingers
spread to sky, claiming a blessing
or, at least, an answer.
You are earth. You. But not
you €”we never buried you, and
I never saw your face in death.
I’m alive, yet not alive.
I walk through shadowed valleys and
I find the Tree €”not fruited, but felled;
a blackened trunk, with spring sprung up
in a hundred nubile branches €”
Me. And you.
The garden must be dug. My young
plants wait on the sill, stretching leggy
stems to reach the light. I turn the
earth. What lies beneath? My spade-tip
scrapes the iron mantle, while I
hang on the wooden handle.
To read Sarah’s bio and other Spring Poetry Runoff entries, go here and here.
I watch April for the breath of life;
stirring roots threading secret ways
through soil. The thrill, when I wake and find
dug garden beds dusted in wild Irish green.
Her crop is more diverse, resilient, more
matched to this soil and these waters
than any I will bring. I turn the earth,
interring new life back into its birth
and fold the dirt around my cup-fed roots
like a swaddling blanket. I coax my seedlings
as they stretch languid limbs for me to
prop and shield from deserving predators.
But She will resurrect, and the natives have
always been tough to kill €”wave after
brave green wave claims their land back.
They raise their furious heads and set
their necks against me. I turn the earth again
and again. With May I fall to my knees and
execute them one by one, in favor of my
still-ungrateful progeny, now jailed in cages,
and I hope for harvest worthy of my effort and
the death of a thousand aborigines.
Sarah Dunster is a loyal contributor to WIZ. For a recent bio and her other entry in Spring Runoff, go here.
How ugly you all are,
An all-over ugly!
Iris bulbs unearthed and scythed
Of top leaves,
I lay your twisted, tuberous
Bodies across a gutted paper sack
And take a moment to grimace
At your grotesquery.
Dirt clings to your stringy reaching roots.
Not even warm water and bleach
Can pretty the rough hide of your skin.
Poor horrid hags!
But wait €”don’t droop,
Shrivel dry in shame.
For I know your secret.
You keep it like a locket,
Or maybe a pearl,
Deep in the water of your flesh €”
A tiara of petals, jewels of silk,
A blush pressed within paper wings.
Each spring, you rise
Slim-necked as swans and slender-leaved
To curve rainbows into blossoms.
Yes, majesty resides in these lumps,
These commoner dumplings €”
Children of the coronet.
Who would guess such a spectacle
But those who’ve already seen
The princess curled within the peasant €”
The goddess in the hag flower.
Sarah E. Page graduated Cum Laude from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in English in 2007 and is pursuing her Master of Science and certification in Secondary English at Southern Connecticut State University. Her poetry has been published in Noctua Review, Mormon Artist, Inscape: A Journal of Literature and Art, and included in the anthology Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-First Century Mormon Poets. When not scribbling novels or taking pictures of the ragged aster and other weeds running rampant in her garden, she enjoys getting lost on long walks in the Naugatuck State Forest.