After the Long Bitter Season

Each day in April, they are here again, 
high on the open slopes, under the pine, 
beside the suddenly garrulous streams, 
pushing up from last summer's cemeteries: 
the iris, the lupine, the baby blue eyes.
and we are waiting for each new appearance—
each new signal of redemption—
the earth returning to us again
after the long bitter season.

I want to talk about the Calypso orchids,
here this Wednesday all at once—
two days of the sun's touch just enough 
to coax them out from the cold.  
Winged pink petals on leafless stems, 
they grow where least expected, 
the ground rocky, inhospitable, shrouded 
with sparse dead pine shards.

Each year we think to find them 
in a kinder context, the new, tender 
grasses of a meadow, perhaps, but no, 
this is the soil, the shade, the hardship 
that sustains them. 
I want to sit down on this stony hilltop,
in the middle of this bitter year, 
watch how the orchids 
launch their pink parachutes out 
between one darkness 
and another.

-- Jacqueline Kudler
In My Backyard

The trees have stories to tell
But they say not a word
They stand perfectly straight
until the breeze comes by
to coax their tales from them

Gently first
their leaves will tingle
shiver slightly with memories

Then the wind picks up
Their branches sway
discussing with their neighbors
gossip of the day
They giggle in delight

That is until
a gale descends with force
that bends their trunks
as branches scream
in all directions

You hear them
pouring out their hearts
their fears
You hear them scream
in torment "remember, remember when..."

Oh wait...
maybe that was me 

-- Arlyn Serber