Elephant Water

Dan Veach



What a dangerous business blossoming is.

The magnolias on Commonwealth Avenue

Came out this year, believing in the heat

Of an early spring.

I sat on the sunny stone steps all afternoon.

They were big ones, pink and white.

But the whip of winter

Cracked at its turning back—

Every one was withered by the frost,

A whole generation of magnolias

Burned out, as brown as paper bags.

Boston is hard

On those large and unsuspecting southern flowers.

We grow tougher each year. We learn

To keep our bloom from being wasted.

Ten years deep, the memory still burns,

the body cannot forget. Ah, my good friends,

I have come out a little more  

Each year since then.

But so much still lies folded in the heart,

Obeying a winter wisdom that still says

Not yet!  Not yet!



Copyright 2012 by Daniel Veach

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Ten Years of Winter