Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pruning Burning Bushes - in Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression

Issue 2.4 of Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression came today in the mail, and in it, my first published poem. Look at me, I'm a poet. Ah ah ah.

Pruning Burning Bushes

I am over-pruning burning bushes
that border my front porch on Morgan,
cutting back two-thirds of growth
to trigger recovery from the trunk up.
Horticulturalists wince as I saw
through oldest limbs and keep going –
the shrubs are old, nothing new is budding.

Someone buzzed them back before we bought
the house, topped and tipped instead of using
crown reduction. There are a dozen leaves left,
tiny offshoots triggered - bursts of green
from long dead, empty stems. My trimming

is traumatic. The branches bend, sustained
so long by suckers sprouted in haste. Here I am,
sighing, sweating, fists on hips, the pruners
lost in the grass. The landscape breathes.
There is no exchange, no return in trauma –
either slowly hollow, heartwood rotting outward,
or grow from green into a fiery blaze in autumn.

I pick the pruners off the earth, dust
my aching hands and look for where
the calluses will form.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Merciful Gardener

The Merciful Gardener
“Come, see a man who told me
everything I ever did.” – John 4:29

It feels as if I’ve been buried here
forever, dehydrated, covered in dirt,

a crocus stagnant and frozen with scales
wrapped tight and tunic pointing skyward

waiting for signs of spring. And now
water trickles down, sunbeams warm the soil,

I can feel myself changing, breaking!
All I’ve ever done was wait and rot.

And then he – And then he showed me –
I am compelled to tell, can’t help but bloom –

Do you see how he knew just what I needed?
Do you see how he knew what I could do?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Snow in Auburn

Snow in Auburn

More than once I have heard
your frosty winter promise whispered,

the fire crackle of your laughter,
felt your sorrow falling with the snap

of heavy branches in the woods.
Eternity, you roar so loud

it wakes me from my sleep; I stand
by the slamming screen door and stare,

wind sudden, deliberate, constant,
each gust stirring the empty field.

Though annuals stiffen, roses brown,
and hostas wilt, dawn will sigh

over blackness. I will ascertain answers
from each snowflake in six feet of snow.