Lavishing itself upon us without restraint, rain has nourished our hills and valleys to an emerald sheen and countless shades of other greens.
Wildflowers swathe meadows and hillsides with a glory of colors that
awakens our hearts to the joy that is always there inside us, whether
we keep in touch with it or not. And we understand what Ralph Waldo
Emerson meant when he said, "The earth laughs in flowers." It surely
does this spring.
There is nothing that one cannot write a poem about. In my mind at
the moment, poetry and flowers go together. They both spell
joy to me. From the beginning, I loved rhyming poetry. (It must have
been those nursery rhymes!) As obsolete as rhyme is in the minds of
many today, it still holds a special place in my affections. And there
is no paucity of people who don't think it's poetry unless it rhymes.
Garrison Keillor recently made a cogent observation online when he
said, "Poetry is a record of the life around us and in us, and you'll get
a better idea from poetry what it was like to be alive in 2011 than you
will from the New York Times." No doubt about it.
This brings me to
the two poems I choose to share with you this month. They sprang
from May laughter, discovery, and joy. In one you'll find rhyme. May
Basket Surprise tells you a bit about 1980 and Wildflower Wisdom
about the early seventies. By doing this column I'm learning that for
me poetry has been a kind of memoir that records significant events
involving my family, friends, myself, and the world. May your spring
days be lavished with the laughter of flowers, joy, and the grace of
May Basket Surprises
Hemline torn and dragging, you
Danced blithely through the door
Oblivious that you also danced
Fresh mud across fresh floor.
The frown about to crease my face
Never saw the light of day
For in your chubby fist you held
Your first treasured gift of May.
In a tattered paper basket,
Cut and pasted by your hand,
Drooped blossoms in disarray,
Sweetest flowers in all the land.
For you held them out to me
In your own special way.
Smudged and strangely shy, you said,
For you, Mom, ummm Happy May Day.
Now I scrub the floors no more,
For my kitchen carpet’s new,
While the one knee-deep in suds
Is a brand new grown-up you.
And this year offers a May Day
To bring dancing to my eyes,
There will be a wicker bassinet
Our first grandchild is the prize.
(From my friend and mentor, Bert Schievink, the Hermit of the Dunes.)
Looking at a petaled pink star
“What do you call this wildflower?”
I asked my friend, the hermit.
“It isn’t important what you call it,”
“But only that you love it.”
I sniffed it, I whiffed it,
gently I stroked it.
My eyes devoured it,
my heart loved it,
my soul made it its own,
and I didn’t need
to pick it.