3 Poems



My hands are hardened to the springtime task

Of ripping out dead wildflower stalks

Leftover from last fall. They crackle in my passing

When I leave a few behind and brown birds

Leap away as though awakened suddenly

As if they’d not heard me stomping along.

And so I stop to give us both some rest.

The singing starts up again. It quells my laboring.

This is like an excuse to let new spring take over

And lift the young fresh plants up through

And cover the glistening leftovers by their rise.

Other agents than myself are now allowed to rule

Without my bumbling ways thinking they were, too.

New scraping sounds are soon taking over.

Grasshoppers earn their name. ..well, recognition.

Mice wriggle, their racing to escape is dropped.

I dry my hands by rubbing them down my trousers.

“These new sounds bring out new friends,” I say

To one coming out from our house, one staying.




A slender cedar tree rises up through the rusty strands

Of a barbed wire fence along a cow field.

It’s been growing there ever since a bird stopped by

And dropped some cedar fruit, pale blue and soft,

Into the uncropped grass below, rising in tufts

As a protective framework. Now all of nature

Seems to have stopped and dug in. No cows graze,

No other birds have tipped the scales in woodlot favor.

If I return often enough and long enough, I will see

A forest coat this land and then go through its own

Rising and falling and rising again, green and tall,

As fires are lit up by passing thunder and lightning.

Nature will have dug in permanently, with changes

Following changes as if resting places on a stairway

That goes up to unending stories of a rising building.

I sit down in the field, my back against a gray fence post.

Will someone come along and ask when will I get up?

Who else would like to come and visit this old field

Just to take some moments on this stairway to the future?




The storm has in it ways to make us ask

If this is the way we ought to go,

out under branches laden with water

and throwing it off as if with design

to guide us along a path it chose.

I’d like to ask of the controlling way

If it really thinks I can’t take ahold

And run things just as I’d like to do.

But I’ll wait until I’ve made a choice.

No use going part way and turning back.

Well, the road behind has been closed off,

So it looks like I’ve done just as I should.