© 2006 by Ellin Anderson


Ellin Anderson

Dust rises from the land, heat melts the sky,
The weight of noon descends.  I shield my face
Under my hand’s cool shadow.  Blue July
Burns slowly.  Hollyhocks and Queen Anne’s lace
Droop near the garden where my gift was sown
After the late Spring snow had drawn away
Its last white veil.  I’ve driven up alone,
Wondering if my seeds survived the grey
March cold, to win the race
That led them here to blossom, wilt, and die.

No trees protect your garden. No kind shade
Caresses, as the sun begins to boil
The sweet dew from the grass.  Your peace was made,
Old peasant woman, wedded to the soil,
Before I knew you, long before I came
To hear your story, through a daughter’s tears.
The little roadside farm that lets your name
Live on, throughout slow zodiacs of years,
Preserves what time can’t spoil
In memory’s frame.  How could time ever fade

The Baltic sunset’s jagged ruby glow
Cast on a girl who drank the knifelike air,
Sat on her feet to warm them in the snow,
And pulled her shawl around her bloody hair?
What human hand could strike a blow that cruel
And make your sad face even sadder?  How
Could you have been a child?  Your only school
Was cruelty. Do you understand it now?
Or have you journeyed where
Forgetfulness is all Love will allow?

I picture you, arriving with the rose,
Uncertain, since your first step off the pier,
Wishing your shawl could hide your broken nose,
And wondering, “Will they even want me here?”
Cathedral glass lifts breezes to the Light
Above a thousand gaudy flowers, while
The goat’s skull by the toolshed grins, stark white —
Blood upon blood to win that bleaching smile.
It holds all you could tell,
And sings me ashes, ashes, all is well.

© 2004 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved. No part of  this work may be copied or used in any way without written  permission from the author.


More Poetry

Solid Rock
The Drive to Barre
Three Drinking Songs
The Liberty Tree

Lost at the Towers
Cold Spring
Snow White / The Apple-Eves
A Rabbit
Four Sonnets
The Bee Swarm / The Honeyman / Did She Curse the Bees?
Little Fred
Butterfly, Columbus Day

The Outlaw
A Ballad of Inspiration

The Revenants
The Wolf-Dog
We Who Refuse to Die
The Field of Flax
The Little Mermaid

Alfheim / The Christmas Tree

The Devil's Den
The Swan
Aix Sponsa
Three Warriors

The Captive Stag

The Patriots' House
Anne's Hearth
The Lovers' Forest
The Stray Cat
Ellin Anderson's Biography