Sunday, March 27, 2016

Five plants in

Five plants in, her back gives out, an
Ill omen, given her age. This
Very thing, her father had predicted;
Even said: you will lose interest in

Planting, in harvesting, in putting up.
Lately she sees what he meant: politics
And global change have consumed her;
Now she sits much more, immobilized by
Things she can only warn of, not repair.
She feels some obligation to the young

In all countries, even of peoples she will
Never meet. Some tell her it's not

Her business if some foreign child drowns.
Even were that so, she would still feel it,
Rummage in her purse, send something.

Back in her garden, unfinished flats
And pots of spring greens wonder where she is.
Could she have died at last, that old thing,
Killed by her curiosity, and left their roots

Groping for water, circling round
In dark commercial soil? The 
Very weeds miss her companionable warfare.
Even the birds and squirrels, not chased
She has let down; they lose their edge.

Out in the mailbox, seed catalogs pile up.
Under the house, leaks spring.
This is how it is. Life moves on.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How she knows

How she knows she is not useless yet:
Old cornstalks must be shattered right
Where they stood green, to feed worms

She knows are waiting in darkness.
Her hens wait too, for water, for feed,
Especially for deadnettles, nipplewort,

Kale and comfrey. Some hummingbirds
Now arriving check the lilac for their
Own nectar bottle that hung there
While last spring, summer and fall
Slipped past. There are wasp queens

She finds sleeping in her woodpile;
Her heart skips a beat as she sees
Each one, for she fears them, yet

Interests herself in their rest and
Safety, for the good they do her garden.

Now she mucks out her barn, for
Of her things she values rich mulch, almost
To distraction, most. But slowly;

Under beams and eaves hang cobwebs,
Sacs of eggs suspended in each, waiting
End of winter, not to be disturbed.
Lest she forget to serve all equitably,
Every bucket of soiled barn water
She carries to her trees to tip out: 
Something to stave off drought.

Yes, she's earned the right, she thinks,
Even in this so solitary place,
To call herself an asset to her friends.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Spring springs

Spring springs upon her unawares;
Perhaps she thought snow would drift
Right up to her window, as it should
In February, as in her memory
No such month escaped some white.
Going forth in a sleeveless shift

She pockets up seeds for flats,
Pulls out dank bins of soil,
Reaches for small pots, sets hope
In light. Such April ploys are
Not to be counted on, she knows --
Guessing random frosts
Still may spring upon her unawares.