The Fresh Fields

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Now Spring returns with leaf and blade,
Some seek the garden, some the glade;
And all to Nature turn, but I
to the fresh fields of Poetry.

Sweet are the first green leaves, and sweet
The scents, and genial the first heat;
And backed by pine or cypress glooms
How rich the rhododendron blooms!

Yet rich or sweet as these appear,
They were as wonderful last year;
And all as then move without pause
Through the same course by the same laws.

The flowers I meet in song are new;
None shall forecast their shape or hue;
To none of your dull round belong
The seasons that unfold in song.

The trees that sung in verse I find
Are each its own, an unknown, kind;
But best in all, tree, season, flower,
Is, there’s no limit to their power.
~Archibald Young Campbell from “Spring and Poetry”

 

These intricate blooms,
beautiful as they are,
return unchanged year after year~
a proliferation of brilliant color.

They explode like fireworks
over fields and hills,
flash, flourish, fade
and are gone.

Yet words of the poet bud and swell in slow motion,
a blossoming blend that linger longingly,
ever changing, transforming
the landscape of heart and mind.

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An Impossible Blossom

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Whenever I allow my eye to peer through
an iris,
I need a flotation device
and depth finder
as I’m likely to get lost,
sweeping and swooning
through inner space
of tunnels, canyons and corners,
coming up for air and diving in again
to journey into exotic locales
draped in silken hues
~this fairy land on a stem~
so immersed in the possibilities
of such an impossible blossom.

(Thank you to Li-Young Lee for introducing me to “impossible blossom” in “From Blossoms” from Rose.
Copyright © 1986: Boa Editions, Ltd.)
There are days we live as if death
were nowhere in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

~Li-Young Lee

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Unfolding World

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It’s spring!
     The blushing, girlish
     World unfolds
Each flower, leaf
     And blade of sod—
     Small letters sent
     To her from God.
~John Updike from “A Child’s Calendar”

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An Astonished Awakening

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Wind in the chimes pulls music
from the air, the sky’s cleared
of its vast complications.

In the pause before summer,
the wild sprouting of absolutely
everything: hair, nails, the mango’s
pale rose pennants, tongues of birds
singing daylong.

Words, even, and sudden embraces,
surprising dreams and things I’d never
imagined, in all these years of living,
one more astonished awakening.
~Rosalind Brackenbury from “Morning in May”

 

Each May morning is a discovery of yet another blossom,
throwing its hues into my dazzled eyes~
and so I drink deeply of this,
astonished at the overflow of riches,
peering into a never-empty basket
of visual feasting.

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Just Pay Attention

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It doesn’t have to be 
the blue iris,
it could be 
weeds
in a vacant lot,
or a few
 small stones;
just 
pay attention, then patch


a few words together
and don’t try
 to make them elaborate.
This isn’t
 a contest but the doorway


into thanks, and a silence
in which 
another voice may speak.
~Mary Oliver

 

The past few years I notice things
I walked by before.
The fleeting moments become more precious,
time pours through my fingers.
It doesn’t have to be the blue iris,
but today it is.
I fall headlong into their depths,
grateful.
Oh so grateful.

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Ordinary Sunday

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Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday.
It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain.
You can feel the silent and invisible life.
~Marilynne Robinson from Gilead

 

As I am covered with Sabbath rest
quiet and deep
as if being planted in soil
just warming from a too long winter~
I know there is nothing ordinary
about what is happening.

I am called by the Light
to push out against darkness,
reaching to the sky
touched by the Source of all
that makes me thrive.

Nothing more extraordinary
than an ordinary Sunday.

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Relishing

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The birds do not sing in these mornings. The skies
are white all day. The Canadian geese fly over
high up in the moonlight with the lonely sound
of their discontent. Going south. Now the rains
and soon the snow. The black trees are leafless,
the flowers gone. Only cabbages are left
in the bedraggled garden. Truth becomes visible,
the architecture of the soul begins to show through.
God has put off his panoply and is at home with us.
We are returned to what lay beneath the beauty.
We have resumed our lives. There is no hurry now.
We make love without rushing and find ourselves
afterward with someone we know well. Time to be
what we are getting ready to be next. This loving,
this relishing, our gladness, this being puts down
roots and comes back again year after year.
~Jack Gilbert “Half the Truth”

 

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