Saturday, May 24, 2014

Intricate Beauty, flame orange at the heart

All afternoon as I weeded and pruned, the red-winged blackbird was singing. When I work in this
garden by the Little Union Canal, I often think of the man who planted and tended it. From my son's place across the street I often saw him fussing with his roses, which surround the front lawn, but I never really talked with him. We bought the place from his widow. In the back yard are irises, many different colors, so well-established that it would take many years to reach this splendor that we now benefit from. Here is one of our favorites, an apricot color, just coming into bloom. I get a kick out of the single blue vinca bloom in the lower left that sneaked into the portrait when I wasn't looking.

I love this poem of Ted Kooser's about his mother's garden--so here it is in celebration of the recent Mother's Day. There are so many celebratory days. Is there one for iris?? Yesterday was World Turtle Day and I missed celebrating it; sorry, Diane!

Mid April already, and the wild plums
bloom at the roadside, a lacy white
against the exuberant, jubilant green
of new grass and the dusty, fading black
of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet,
only the delicate, star-petaled
blossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume.

You have been gone a month today
and have missed three rains and one nightlong
watch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellar
from six to eight while fat spring clouds
went somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured,
a storm that walked on legs of lightning,
dragging its shaggy belly over the fields.

The meadowlarks are back, and the finches
are turning from green to gold. Those same
two geese have come to the pond again this year,
honking in over the trees and splashing down.
They never nest, but stay a week or two
then leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts
burning in circles like birthday candles,

for this is the month of my birth, as you know,
the best month to be born in, thanks to you,
everything ready to burst with living.
There will be no more new flannel nightshirts
sewn on your old black Singer, no birthday card
addressed in a shaky but businesslike hand.
You asked me if I would be sad when it happened

and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house
now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots
green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,
as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that.
Were it not for the way you taught me to look
at the world, to see the life at play in everything,
I would have to be lonely forever.

Ted Kooser, from Delights & Shadows, Copper Canyon Press, 2004. 

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