Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Garden

The Lenten Rose Deflowered

Even near a seed-filled feeder
the squirrels are partial
to the hellebores,
a hidden gift I’ve discovered
left by the last gardener
who made this buttercup house
a home.

Demure in their woodland beauty
they are the first to bloom
amongst the ashen days
a month before winter’s end
with heads bowed
in reverential shades of speckled dusk
monk’s claret
dusty widows’ veils
and singed-edge sage of crone.

No trumpet of spring
as the upturned daffodil,
strengthened by the austerity of cold
they contemplate the waking
from hibernation
with the slow return of light.

While preferring the shade of the cedars
shrouded further by the habit
of rhododendron leaves,
this tamed wilderness
is yet no convent
leaving their stems and petals exposed
to tiny teeth and claws
as the sword ferns
fail to protect their virtue
from the insatiable chatter
of squirrels in heat.

Winter Banquet

From my place at the table
through the leaded panes
I watch
sparrows, robins, finches
and chickadees
hop, flutter, and flit
from the cedar fence ridge
and naked plum tree boughs
to the freshly filled feeder—
its top a beacon of yellow
the only color beyond the spectrum
of wintergreens
and dormant umbrage
at the string of grey
marked in months of days
while the plump squirrel
perches and plots his plan
this fruitless season,
no time of famine.

Mother’s Bloom


On this first day of spring
the white narcissus in my yard
hang their heads
still timid, barely more than buds,
planted so late in the fall
after the first frost
by this unskilled gardener.

The neighbors’ daffodils
and those in the park
and along the freeway through downtown
have all been aflame for weeks,
six-petaled suns
trumpeting hope
before I could feel it, before it was here.

I worried what the neighbors would think,
their late arrival
a sign of my irresponsibility,
the kind everyone notices
but no one mentions
like a baby born only seven months
after the honeymoon.

But there’s no expiration date on hope
I remind myself
after impatiently urging
my bulbs to bloom,
their pale blush and slow unfurling
now a joy that erases
this mother’s sense of shame.

Bookmark Quote #132



A book is like a garden in one’s pocket.

-Chinese proverb.

Read the story of 1000 Bookmarks.

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