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    green moss

    Year of Wonder

    Two poems listen keenly to the language of nature’s seasons.

    By Paul J. Pastor

    April 6, 2024

    Regarding Spring, which Sharpens Grief by Means of Fresh, Unconquerable Joys

    We find ourselves surrounded by the thing,
    see it in flowers and our orchard trees.
    The Lenten Roses turn like fasting souls,
    the Bleeding Hearts lean breaking in the fog.
    Pale plum buds that we peel with little knives
    show Christ’s five wounds, each blossom like a brain.
    Under our eaves, the robin’s muddy nest
    spills raving chicks, each pricked by their half-quills.
    The forest keeps close counsel, shrugs warm light,
    the fawn’s green rib blooms fungus in the rain.
    Fresh moss chews shingles, shamed trees bow away,
    and every little gift comes at a price.
    Now when we walk, we walk like in a dream.
    Understanding nothing. But we know what it means.


    a fawn in the woods

    Photograph by Tamela / Adobe Stock.


    Annus Mirabilis

    And many bade him be quiet but he shouted all the more.

    Mark 10:48

    It was the year of changes; of pyrite in the stream, and mica;
    the year that it has been since we can remember.
    And under the rusting swing, mason bees curved their blue jig
    and played house in the cottonwood,
    for it was the year of changes. 
    Forth from the woodshed, gaunt ants trooped spirals, 
    heralding rule to the barons of grasses.
    The oriole mourned in her lilac’s failed pagoda,
    and poured new sorrows to the shrew,
    for it was the only year she could remember.

    Where now is your wisdom, my soul?
    You are poor with losing; your right eye is plucked.
    Where now is your boasting or your artifice?
    They are fled like wind, past peeling vertebrae of houses.
    And to whom shall you stumble, my soul?
    For beyond the dead highway lies your lush and native country.
    To whom will you complain, or rail old protestations?
    You are in the problem; such may not be considered.
    People look to you like walking trees;
    the glass of your black tablet has been splintered.

    But still, miracles tick toward us on the bee’s bright dial;
    ants perform their gamelan on neat bamboo.
    The oriole’s quenched sobs lift up fresh purple steeples,
    and it is the only year we can remember.
    There is no diminishing the bulk of hills,
    except by little water for much time, 
    and all good things are hopeless, precisely when they are working.
    Streams fill with grit and glitter; yes; mica, pyrite, gold.
    The God of little things spits garnets in our mud.
    For this is the year of changes. The year it has always been.

    Contributed By PaulJPastor Paul J. Pastor

    Paul J. Pastor is an award-winning poet, an editor for HarperCollins, and an author, most recently of Bower Lodge: Poems.

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