Bedded in New Soil, We Wait for Spring

Iris germanica mixed

Late February, under melting snow

Bulbs planted in the fall are stirring,

Sending forth broad green shoots

Seeking warmth of lengthening Sun.

No blossoms yet… patience is required,

But stems now stand at attention,

Hoping by May to feel warm breath of wind,

Allowing buds to burst open—

An act akin to giving birth.


Years ago, I’d given up.

Every spring the deer advanced;

Intuition sharp as they watched,

Waited until the day before buds of

Daffodils and tulips enlarged to open,

Then took their feast of sweetness.

For years the bulbs would try again next year,

Finally withered from despair or voles.


My old friend, Mitch, swore that iris

Would flourish in this place

I dare to say I own as home.

He sent me dozens from Missouri—

Fancy ones with beards,

Colors I’ve only seen in paintings at the Met.

Bedded them in new soil,

Purchased last October at the store in plastic bags,

Fertilized, guaranteed to make them happy.


They’re planted in trilogies,

Sometimes in groups of fives

So they won’t be too lonely.

Blessed with water,

They sent their roots down into the ground,

Were covered against freezing winds of winter…

Now awaken to survey length of lawn,

Along stone path, downward to the lake.


I came here almost twenty years ago,

Escaping from big city’s noise and pain,

Hoping to plant myself again

Among glacial stone ridges of the town.

Now buried like quiet beetle, dark inside the dirt,

Turned up by gardener’s spade,

I still remember whence I came—

Farmers plowed fields with sharp blades,

Topsoil deep from 20,000 years of waiting.


I live upon a tiny plot of Earth,

Having given up small Midwestern town,

Farms, friends— as though dying,

Letting go of past so I might create an empty space,

Adventure forth again transplanted—

Find new friends, new gods or at least

New understanding of One God,

Unlearning and learning,

Uprooted, turned and turned each year

Like garden soil or loam upon the fields…

Always turning like a puzzle in the mind.


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