I think that flowers come from love,
that whenever you hug someone,
or kiss someone with passion or
affection, whenever you stroke
the arm of someone you care for,
or the fur of a pet, that whenever
you look at something with delight
or appreciation, when you’re touched
by an act of kindness or do
a kindness of your own, that
somewhere, a flower is born.
And when you look at a flower,
truly look, so that you see its
tenderness and beauty, more
flowers are born. Even in winter.
Even when it’s dark.
Near the end of the country road
sits a little brick house, a small barn.
Its acre of lawn is always trimmed,
and along the rail fence, flowers bloom
from early spring until the next snow.
I’ve seen the old man, a straw hat
on his head, riding the mower,
his shoulders bent, his face relaxed
into a smile that says he loves this work.
And by the fence, his gray-haired wife
kneels on her arthritic knees and digs
in the soil with gnarled hands,
planting more bulbs, pulling weeds.
And this they do, because they can,
all in the name of beauty.
All at once, the magnolias are in bloom,
as if spring wanted us to wait no more
for her grandeur. The thick pink
of their petals kisses our eyes,
so thirsting for color, and we drink
it in, slaking our parched souls.
The blossoms lift us, and our spirits float
with them in the azure sky,
freed from winter’s bonds
once more, sailing on the winds
of spring’s eternal Yes.
Atop the tall tree, whose name I do not know,
tiny leaves open, looking like little hands
waving a hello. Hello, world. Hello, springtime.
Hello, fellow trees. You can almost feel
their glee, standing here beneath them,
at the base of the tree that bears them.
The tree itself is silent. But you can sense
its towering pride in its hundreds
of waving, joyous babies.
What kind of world gives rise
to daffodils? How can something
so wild contain so much grace?
And why now, when our hearts
are so freshly scarred by the insanity
of man and there seems so little hope,
would this one pristine light
come with its ruffled gold
to tell us Something Larger
enfolds us and hold us all
in its infinite love? Even here.
Even now. Even though.
The answer is always Yes.
You can feel the life-force surging
as you walk among the trees. It’s more
than the sight of the bursting buds, or
the grand whispers of welcome
from the pine, who endured
through the winter, to the maple
waking beside it with such rosy joy.
It’s something electric, dancing
on every molecule of air,
a proclamation to the world:
We’re alive! We’re alive! We’re alive!
I forget. How I can forget,
I do not know. But every spring
You unfold beauty so beyond
my recollection that it’s as if
I am seeing it for the first time.
And each time, my breath
stops in wonder, so moved
am I by the perfection
of Your tender designs.
Flecks of white as small and bright
as snowflakes spot the grass.
I stoop to find wee blossoms dancing,
tiny bouquets as sparkling as stars.
Nothing escapes the spring kiss
of the Yes. Even in these abandoned
hidden places, it leaves its traces
of sweetness and of love.
Well, look at you, standing there
on the hill as if you owned it.
I didn’t expect to see you for days.
And there you are, shining your yellow
as bright as the sun, coaxing laughter
from me in my surprise. And look
how fancy and ruffled you are,
tucked in this curve of old country road,
dressed as if you were going to a ball.
I’ll tell you this: The sight of you
made my heart skip with joy,
and I’ll sing your song all day.
The journey is different than you expected
and longer. The weather turns. The clear sky
is eclipsed by storms. You run into detours
and rough roads. You lose your way
and feel helplessly lost. But in the darkness
something beckons you on, a voice that only
you can hear, whispers to keep on keeping on.
So you do, despite the confusion and rain,
mile after mile, until you see a sign and know,
all of a sudden, the way. And you turn,
and the sky clears and hangs colored clouds
that reflect your joy, and it sings to you:
Welcome home, dear child. Welcome home.