In April

This season, this month

you worry about papers, exams.

You analyze Wordsworth and Byron

and tell me this morning with a voice so solemn

that they both died in April.

Not a note from an Aeolian harp

but the of gurgle of the coffee pot

heralds this proclamation.

Today you document April as the anniversary of dead poets

while I revel in my gardening magazine,

seed catalogues spread across the kitchen table.


My poetry is Kroetsch not Keats—

the measure of the quarter section

bound by barbed wire

rewritten by the plow.

Not the prim order of the English garden

my labyrinth is of lilacs

my thorns of caragana.

No sham ruins but the rusted husk of an old John Deere.

No nightingales but magpies

who slake their hunger on roadside gopher guts.


Come to the garden with me and feel

the grit beneath your nails

damp dirt upon your skin.

Dig in with your scholar’s hands

where feeble sprouts etiolate

under autumn’s ode of decomposing leaves,

where poetry gnaws at the lingering edge of graveled snow—

new bud not yet in leaf

straining to the unseen sun.