New Season Budding

David and I landed back in New Hampshire yesterday afternoon, after a week away. Having been in Tennessee, we were used to fully leafed out trees and flowering azaleas and roses and peonies.  But coming home to a week’s worth of bud growth on the trees here, the growing grass, the violets popping up in my yard and garden, was a welcome scene.  Trees are like grand flowers in NH this time of year, as their buds break into catkins and furry pods of unfurling leaves, blurring the landscape with red and gold.  I wrote this poem about 15 years ago, but still remember it every year at this point in the season.

 

Habitat

I don’t inhabit my skin.
Here’s a story that hasn’t been told
about the trees, first budding,

branch tips tinting the horizon.
Trees don’t inhabit their bark;
all parts are one wisdom, one being

translated through one set of roots,
fibers drinking from the same soil,
then feeding that soil when dead.

Afternoons cloud over as expected,
dimming the sunlight that torches
those reds, oranges, yellows

of leaf buds splitting open to green.
Now begins gradual disappearance —
the long view constricts to the brevity

of the yard. And on this side
I disappear, my skin and stories
coming with me.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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