April 12, 2016

Friday, March 23, 2012

Poetry Friday: Spring and All

Happy spring everyone! This week was the Vernal Equinox. Have you ever tried balancing an egg on the first day of spring? It works.

Soon it will be April -- National Poetry Month 2012! This year, my blog project is 30+ Habits of Highly Effective Poets.

If you'd like to sign up to share  your writing habits or rituals (the odder the better, I always say) OR if you'd like to write a short piece on another famous poet's strange or practical writing rituals, visit yesterday's post for details or send me an email at I've got some exciting children's authors and poets, willing to expose their secret rituals! My list is filling up, so sign up ASAP if you'd like to join in.

There's still time to order your free NPM poster at

Meanwhile, I'll be in the garden. I have pruned the roses, hydrangea and buddleia, cut back the beautiful clematis vines that flower all over our deck, planted forsythia and begun weeding. I got my love of gardening from my mother, whose birthday is today!

There is something meditative about being in the garden. The poem I'm sharing today captures how I feel about gardening. Working the earth feeds something deep in us.

Upon the Morning
by Susan Hendrickson
I saw a woman
half submerged in the ground
sitting in the comfort of weeds
nibbling on some timothy.

She ran her teeth, berry-stained,
over the translucent green stems
entered into the sweetness of the world
that sky-bright moment.

Within her solitary warren
hugging the mysteries of the day
to herself, I knew she was me
and I knew she woke me up.

Read the rest at Pudding Magazine. I'm swept away by the poem's beautiful concluding lines.

My daughter's Rose of Sharon shrub.

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading is hosting Poetry Friday today. It looks as if her American Red Bud tree is a few days ahead of mine -- ready to bloom. It's my favorite flowering event of the year.


Tabatha said...

I feel that way about gardening, too. I've been drawn to dig and plant, but it also feels wrong...too early.

I like your new side-bars! (They may not be that new any more, but I'm just noticing them.) Very nice.

Michael Ratcliffe said...


Great poem-- thanks for sharing it.

If you don't mind, I'll share my spring/gardening poem:


(For Zachary, Dylan, and Harrison)

Kneel beside me in the garden
and feel the soft, moist dirt,
warmed again after winter’s freeze,
turned and readied for planting.

Scoop it, feel it in your hands,
crush the clods in your palms,
squeeze the dirt through your fingers
until your hands are rich
with a black dermis of soil.

The soil of spring is part of us,
in our psyche and our souls;
it is our past, our present, our future.
We are of the soil, my sons--
though three generations from the land,
our professions have stayed close:
ag economist, entomologist, geographer.
What will you do, sons of the soil,
descendants of farmers,
who wrote lives in the earth?

So, my sons, take this soil,
hold it in your hands,
feel the moist warmth radiate,
and no matter what you do,
or where you go in life,
turn a spadeful of dirt each spring,
take the soft, warm earth into your hands
and feed your soul.

Author Amok said...

Hi, Tabatha. At this point, I am giving in, but I am mourning for the winter that wasn't.

Mike -- thanks for sharing this poem. I am struck by the idea that working the soil together had a profound effect on your sons and what they now do for work. Entomologist? So cool.

Michael Ratcliffe said...

Laura-- Thanks, although I'll have to say, that I'm not sure yet what effect working the soil together will have on my sons' choices of professions. The professions listed in the poem are my grandfather's (ag economist), father's (entomologist), and me (geographer). Maybe I need to make that clearer in the poem. My grandfather was the one who left the family farm, but stayed close to farming, working for USDA and with farmers and extension agents. My father also worked for USDA in the Ag Research Service, finishing his career working on breeding insect-resistant wheat. I've strayed-- I'm at the Census Bureau-- but my gardening keeps me close to the ground.

GatheringBooks said...

Hi Laura! Happy birthday to your mom. My own mother loves gardening too - she loves planting orchids, and the plants would simply bloom under her loving care. Thank you for sharing the beautiful poem as well.