Friday, September 30, 2011

Before After Apple-Picking

For Ally’s Apple Orchard:

Before After Apple-Picking


Everything I know, or should, ‘bout apple-picking
I learned from Frost.
And still, in apple orchards, I am lost;
Unframed, minding where the ladder’s sticking.
Prematurely picked, apples not quite ripe,
Too tardy snatched and the flavor isn’t right.
Partly filling barrels by the twilight,
His wisdom tells me that I’ve just begun
To lyrically sum regrets with this chore:
A remedy: A meditative task:
A metaphor around which anthem’s spun,
Answering questions I have yet to ask.
I have started after-apple-picking first
Instead of last
Conjoining voice of youth with soul of past
This cannot last.
Not juiced nor cider’d nor unpicked, I thirst
For sweet and ripened, perfect fruit to barrel fill,
Nigh worm’d, or bruised, some worse,
Spring blossom reminisce in Autumn chill.
With many unfilled barrels, I am cursed,
Endings come first, without a hearty start,
For apples hid just out of sight.

This apple orchard place permits no rest.
The time’s not yet
To ruminate on all the ways I’m blessed
Or even count the haul.
Too many barrels yet remain unfilled,
And I have higher ladders still to build.
It’s only late summer or early fall,
I don’t recall. This early harvest swells,
Not quells,
With bitter picks.
Wiser ones know this task stands better-suited
For blue days, after October’s first flake:
Frosty Fall mix.
Such wisdom here falls, muted,
Behind a pane of frozen casement frame,
Or cellar from.
Alas, this after-apple-picking task
Appears a hassle, daunting chore to some—
Undone, unfilled cask.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weeds and Wildflowers

For Helen’s Hill Loves Jimmy’s Great Lawn

Weeds and Wildflowers

When weeds become wildflowers
And wildflowers weeds,
We vary cultivation
According to their needs.
Whether hand-transplanted,
Or raised from suckled seeds
Or broadcast cross’d a lawn, at last,
Or cared for, for our needs:
They all began as weeds.

Lily of the Valley, Mint,
Chic’ry, Aster, Cress,
On mountain path, by
Sandy-soiled bluffs, they’re best,
Fertilized by vis’tors by,
Cold creek-watered or by the sky,
Arbor-shaded place of rest,
Adorning critter’s nests:
They all began as weeds.

When, at last, they propagate,
Each spring with surly dew,
And spread along the moistish ground,
With blazing colors new
And present against the richly soiled
Black and heaven’s blue,
To welcome guests and passers-through,
Exclaiming, “I am true!”:
They all began as weeds.

Adamites, we gave them names,
And like Linnaeus, classified.
Genus, species, plots, and rows,
Gardened, stocked, and stratified.
Country square or city park,
On alters, testified,
Aesthetically, they ratified,
With blooms, satisfied:
They all began as weeds.

Some wildflowers find homes at hearth,
Others to weed return.
Others still invade our lawns,
A former love, we spurn.
On hills, some petals, still we cherish,
Others, still, allowed to perish,
Some loved, before they’re born,
Like our flowers fraught, forlorn:
They all began as weeds.

Style, science, truth and knowledge
Cull, separate and thin.
Garden accent or center star,
Assign their place therein.
Now sublime or now invasive,
We’d rather pull than trim
Once in vogue, we’d sing in praise of,
The named and loved ones win.

Nigh weeds, nor wild, nor garden star
We’re left with memories afar,
Exchanging known for what might come,
Or raise our sense of beauty’s bar.
Not every species wins.
We all began as weeds.

Unwish'd

(For Charlotte’s Creek):

Unwish’d
When Irene passed through
And on, and left us
Damp of Eye and
Squishy-toed
And swelled our banks
And over-swept our bridges
And made the right
Low streets canals
And church steps docks
And steeples buoys,
And our homes of stick
And mortar creeked,
And smoothed some stones
Along the way,
We were warned—
Reminded:
Our mother is the prime
And in her passing resides
The power.
She cannot stay forever—
Tho’, hydrangea did renew—
Nor did we wish her to.

When Irene passed through
And on, and left us,
A new soul, Charlotte,
Came prime,
Or primer still, still quick
Yet still a trickling brook
From whence?
Another side, another line,
And swelled our banks
With minty tea
And craft and confection
And freshly-squeezed
And pulpy this and that
And rounded rocks,
We were warned—
Reminded:
Of the fragility of God’s
most porcelain creation,
Resilient soul.
In her passing resides
The power.
She cannot stay forever—
Tho’, deposit sediment anew—
Nor did we wish her to.

When Charlotte passed through
At last—a gift, daisy-new—and on,
Her name, upon the wind, did spread,
Broadcast along the wings of
Hummingbirds and clung to
Dandelions floating high and far
And did land along a
New shore—
A new bank deposited—
Among Helens and Anns:
A different clan.
Yet sweet, a promise still.
We were warned—
Reminded:
That tears can christen,
And baptize
And that squishy toes are for frolic
And that hydrangea need sediment
And that youth too will pass.
She cannot stay forever—
Spirited, alabaster soul grew—
Nor did we wish her to.

On Charlotte’s Creek,
O’er rocks of geologic time
And innumerable Irenes and Charlottes,
Anns and Helens,
And hummingbirds and dandelions
And daisies and hydrangea
And harvest moons
And apples dropp’d
And forests fell’d
And Winter snows
And Spring thaws
And swollen banks
And streaming trickles,
Eddying and rapids too,
And chilled toes
And whetted lips,
We are warned—
Reminded:
To cherish our enduring mother—
Adoration well-sprung.
She cannot stay forever—
Always and already new—
Though we may wish her to.

Dew Do

Dew Do

Leaves of grass,
Morning dew'd
With a promise from
Almighty, and a challenge:
Do.