Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Rainy Sunday Morning In April

It was foggy early this morning when I got up. I was going to take a picture of the fog over the pond but before I got to it the rain came and cleared the fog away. Instead of fog, my photo shows the greening of the willows, geese on the pond, rain dripping from bare oak branches, white plum blossoms in the distance and the green, green grass.


Then I decided to find a poem about wild plum blossoms. Surely someone has written one that I could relate to? Boy, did I find a doozy!
I first became aware of Ted Kooser and his poetry when he was making regular appearances on CBS' Sunday Morning. That was probably 2004 to 2006 when he was Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress. He also won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2005. I greatly admire his work and am so glad searching for a poem about plum blossoms led me back to him. This is the one I found:

 Mother

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


In search of a poem about plum blossoms, I never dreamed I would find one which so perfectly expresses my own feelings on this rainy April Sunday morning.

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