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.
For fifteen years this lemon tree has bloomed
And offered up her fruit; our little maiden
Who sweeps the walk, housekeeper of the soil.
Her headdress in the wintertime is laden
With branches that bear golden offerings.
She’s our enchanted one, with perfect limbs
Producing flowers in the springtime. Her
Exquisite emerald leaves evoke soft hymns
From sparrows on the trellis. Daughter, bound
Into a pebbled, earthy ground, reviving
Our senses with a holy, hidden fire.
Secluded shrine of shade €” somehow, deriving
All glory from the sky. Sweet priestess, gowned
And birthed in rites where songs of life are crowned.
Karen Kelsay is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of five chapbooks. Her latest book, Dove on a Church Bench, will be published next year by Punkin House Press. She is the editor of Victorian Violet Press, an online poetry magazine, and lives in Orange County, California, with her British husband and two cats. Karen was February’s featured artist in The New Formalist. See her work here.
Karen’s poem “Waiting for Spring” won last year’s Spring Poetry Runoff’s Most Popular Vote Award. She has published several poems on WIZ. To see more of her poetry on WIZ, search on her name using the search box lower left in the sidebar.
How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the Palm, the Oke, or Bayes ;
And their uncessant Labors see
Crown’d from some single Herb or Tree,
Whose short and narrow-vergÃ¨d Shade
Does prudently their Toyles upbraid ;
While all the Flow’rs and Trees do close
To weave the Garlands of repose. Continue reading ““The Garden” by Andrew Marvell”