Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the earliest of Spring

blood root, the star

it’s so early in Spring that it’s still Winter on the calendar,
up here in the Smokies water remembers to flow
as the icy snow high up gives up its grip,
the stasis before the show
that plants, with memory and plan in seed and root,
just ache to bring out from behind the curtain,

and, when the light has come up enough for the show,
every leaf is a prima donna ready for an audience,
ready to use the energy from light and memory
to be, and to reach a year or more ahead,
with bud to blossom to seed,

I’m here in the mountains well before the full show gets rolling,
and I look for the outliers, the opening acts,
the first to find their way from nervous anticipation
to their entrance under the light,

I search out the off-Broadway venues,
the little ecosystem clubs where flora might take a risk,
I find beds of early blooming hepatica,
trillium up and ready to go,
little yellow violets audacious in their cuteness,
and I hope for blood root, a star who comes on stage early,
yet only where and when it chooses,

I elder myself that we in the audience must be patient and understanding
that its entrance is by its own clock,

finally, today, my last full day up here for 6 weeks,
I search out a low, deep, shaded hollow,
and there, by the dropping branch,
blood root after blood root makes an entrance,
each bud erect, assertive, unopened,

the fullness of their entrance will come
days after I’ve gone back home,

still I marvel that the star I hoped for
revealed itself on a stage I could find.

by Henry Walker
March 14, ’11

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