In these snowy, dark days the first of the year, it is good to read poems about May and June, continuing with poems from Scott Owens' Book of Days recently published online by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature..http://www.deadmule.com/poetry/2009/01/scott-owens-book-of-days-a-chapbook/
Of Flowered Gardens As In May
You’ve been working the garden again
to the texture you want, beating it
with mattock and hoe, pulling up what
you won’t grow, putting down what you will.
Everything you do leaves a different taste
in your mouth. Pulling up ivy is nothing
like pulling up myrtle. Rooting one only
like the other in the earth you turn.
These are days with high foreheads
and Roman noses coming out of the ground,
with eyebrows bushy as clouds, with green hands
of limbs stroking the windows open,
with the too-cool sauntering in of May.
You sniff the air alive with spring’s ammonia,
search for the living bloom of earth
beneath stones. In the garden bitter drops
of May hang beneath umbrella leaves,
the screaming plant, the little man.Loose
strife, spiderwort, bleeding hearts
blaze their public weeping. Squirrels swing
from cats’ mouths. Birds lie dead on the path,
premature bodies pink as velvet gloves.
Lichen slices through rock. You arrive
with your hands full of little graves,
your thoughts full of the deaths of planting.
Immature May, May with its half-hearted
promises, May the almost ripe, has called
you to its secret rooms full of flowers,
to its life dripping from fingertips
of leaves. You will open the earth again.
You will set the seedling in place
and feed it with your own cracked hands.
June Arrives, Dressed in Grace and Pain
Hesitant, June stood waiting on the horizon for days,
then walked in with an uncertain limp,
dragging the dead heads of spring behind it.
Now it stands staring into fields that will not grow,
counts fallen fingers of foxglove, sits in the trees
at night wilting the leaves, spreading its heat around.
Now it sings in the throats of mockingbirds at night,
in distant whippoorwills teasing you out into darkness
towards dead-leaf bodies you’ll never find.
There is no loneliness like June’s confusion
of faces, bee-balm’s foolscap of red, yarrow’s
cowardly hands, bright, boasting tongues of gladiolus.
In the day edible orange daylilies open their mouths
to a sky full of promises. At night the air shines
with bodies burning to touch one another.
The angel of June flies into the room, black wings,
red belly spiraling down to black, three-part-body
you can’t help but want on top of you.