V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




In this absence of hours, diminishing light,
the lettuce is gone, and the buckler’s sorrel,
dead remnants of meadow rue,
so much of the garden laid to endings,
damp stalks where the herbs grew, those annuals.

The lilac rattles bare and the wisteria,
the Rose of Sharon, too.
Two stands of sedum serve a reminder
that the shears are in the shed.
Even the roses abandon their leaves.

Only the weeds rise green
and thick when the ground thaws.
I can see next season’s pulling and pruning,
the cutting back and away.
Will the delphinium weather another year?

I am forgetting the names for things,
losing the finely drawn details.
Only the birch remains elegant,
its thin net of branches swaying like the lace
of a Victorian widow on her walk.

Come spring, we shall see what returns,
what has not lasted the hard frost,
remember what was never meant to stay.
You thought that the garden was growing.
I tell you: It’s all about loss.


© by Joannie Stangeland


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