the madrigal, volume i
helen jenks and tomás clancy
by helen jenks
We watched from the pale, screened porch
how the yearning earth claimed the last days of winter ––
first the snow, then the snow drops, and soon
the brightly burning holly we had planted all those years ago.
When spring came, the ground buckled and groaned
with the forgotten weight of its most cautious children;
the timid daffodils that perched like spectators
beneath a crumbling stone wall, fighting
the vines and brambles that sought to frighten them.
They were not scared, and neither was I,
running and falling into meddlesome mud and rain-soaked earth,
laughing with the rosy-cheeked thrill of my childish exhilaration
as I splashed into their watery depths –– a Tartarus of
dirt and branches, trampled leaves and tiny footprints.
What pretty subjects for a little queen –– the ivy which clung to the gutters
and the lilac which laughed at it, preening on its narrow,
dewy tree, pregnant with the blooms of spring.
All except the goldenrod, deceptive and traitorous to the touch.
A Brutus growing beneath the warm rays of Helios’ care,
banished far away from the muddy court
presiding pompously on the old stone wall.
It made me sneeze.