Aliki Barnstone - Poet, Translator, Critic, Editor, English Professor
All the days since the autumn equinox
I’ve been unable
to get the word
out of my mind.
swirled on maple leaves
burnished by rain.
to be sad though it signifies sadly.
Alas, the birds alight too briefly
before their southern leave.
Alas, the lawn,
of the love of money,
a single conforming species,
its rank’s blades held aloft,
lethal, alas, to all
the few pests targeted),
lethal to little helpers
and food progenitors.
too many mistake for weeds
and eradicate our wild
violets and clover.
I like the violet’s heart-
shaped leaves in my salad,
shining with beads of oil.
I like to think the soil likes
the clover to fix its nitrogen
and the clover likes to be the grass
Walt Whitman loves, inviting us to loaf
and hum among wildflowers
whose names recall
daughters, home, and harvest—pincushion,
bachelor’s button, and Queen Anne’s lace,
golden rod, cosmos, and prairie aster
sweet allysum, yarrow, and autumn joy--
where bees intoxicated by nectar, not toxins,
live to be our promiscuous pollinators.
Alas is a new poem that will soon appear in the forthcoming chapbook, Winter with Child.