In April

This poem won Honourable mention in the 2010 2-Day Poem Contest

This season, this month

you worry about papers, exams.

You analyze Wordsworth and Byron

and tell me this morning with a voice so solemn

that they both died in April.

Not a note from an Aeolian harp

but the of gurgle of the coffee pot

heralds this proclamation.

Today you document April as the anniversary of dead poets

while I revel in my gardening magazine,

seed catalogues spread across the kitchen table.


My poetry is Kroetsch not Keats—

the measure of the quarter section

bound by barbed wire

rewritten by the plow.

Not the prim order of the English garden

my labyrinth is of lilacs

my thorns of caragana.

No sham ruins but the rusted husk of an old John Deere.

No nightingales but magpies

who slake their hunger on roadside gopher guts.


Come to the garden with me and feel

the grit beneath your nails

damp dirt upon your skin.

Dig in with your scholar’s hands

where feeble sprouts etiolate

under autumn’s ode of decomposing leaves,

where poetry gnaws at the lingering edge of graveled snow—

new bud not yet in leaf

straining to the unseen sun.

Published online June 01 2010.

This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.

Poetry Only cover image

This piece was published in ‘Poetry Only,’ the Spring 2011 issue of CV2.

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