The Berry Bush

Stoic, she relinquishes her treasures.

Fingers swish, palms purple with the richness

of the gift. She whispers soft

but I am occupied; berries bounce in a plastic

pail to the rhythm of songbirds.

 

The old-timers say

that the harvest is only heavy every

seven years. This is the one in seven-

fat orbs dazzle the eye

and my pail overflows quick,

tongue stained and smug.

 

I strip the branches easiest to reach, careful to

pry into intimate places, seek

her secrets with greedy grasp. I slow. Here, not all are

perfectly ripe. My fingers must pull with

respect, leave the immature for a later picking.

 

The pails are piling purple. Content, I

step back, prepare to sail home

with cargo hold brimming. I stretch,

look up. More. And more, and more hang. I hear it

indistinct, this lesson. On tiptoe, the blessings are harder to

harvest, require more of my complacency.

 

Patience prickles. Fingers falter, accidental purple showers

to the earth. Joints creak, muscles strain,

and here is the true miracle,  saved for last. Fullness scrapes the dirt

plump and glad. The  equation comes

clear, and I laugh aloud with the unexpected joy of it –

 

for when do blessings not hang in clusters,

ripe and ready to pick? And how is great glory not

gained with a stretch of stained hands toward heaven?

Which good and surprising delights

were not made the sweeter by bowing of the head

and bending of the knee?

 

I hear her now.

Her syllables ring loud in the silence.

And I, who teach for a living,

am schooled by the berry bush.

 

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Great Expectations

foliage

 

The seeds of Great Expectations rooted deep,

but she tasted their fruits not in the fair soil of trinkets

fashioned from sturdy stems,

cabinetry of beauty and elegance

displaying the wares of Kings,

nor in the expression of the printed page,

pouring forth speech from pulpy loins.

Less still the warmth of a billion fires,

songs of a billion kettles

as her fuel gave Man comfort from the endless darkness.

It came, not in the power and might

of the straight-rimmed arrow’s shaft

or the machinations of the torture room,

but in the beautiful irony of Life –

the abandonment of her burdens,

 bouquet of ultimate surrender.

Here, where she came to terms with her brokenness,

her truest beauty harvested

Great Expectations.

A Harrowing Harvest

thresherman's sledge

 

These tines, thresher’s sledge

gouging flesh, tearing

chaff from stalk in one

smooth strike. Plundering

periphery has

its benefits; as

empty hulls fall to

the earth, seeds awake

to freshly ploughed soil.

 

The Gleaning

canary seed

When your shoulders, bending low beneath their heavy load,

Bow defeated with the weight of what your day’s bestowed,

Lift your eyes above the waves, set down your raging fears ;

Pregnant with a harvest-hope, your gleaning time appears.

************************************************************

Canary seed soon to be gleaned…

Wait For Me

autumn slough

 

Wait for me at water’s edge,

Where Autumn meets the sky,

Where trees in wigs stretch sapless twigs

And watch the geese fly by.

.

Wait for me where harvest hides,

Where Wind paints reveries,

Where evenings slip with frosty grip

By picturesque degrees.

.

Wait for me where Time stands still,

Where seasons wax and wane,

Where Dew withdraws from icy paws

‘Til only earth remains.