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Image by Isabella and Louisa Fischer


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. 

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