Kooser: 'An American Life in Poetry' (Oct. 27) - Omaha.com
Published Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 9:27 am
Kooser: 'An American Life in Poetry' (Oct. 27)

I open every spring with a garden more precisely laid out than the year before, and by the end of summer it’s collapsed into a tangle of weeds, bugs and disorder. Here’s Gabriel Welsch, a Pennsylvania poet, carrying a similar experience into winter.

A Garden’s End

Forsythia, scaled and bud-bangled,
I pruned to a thatch of leaves
for the curb, by the squirrel-gnawed
corn, silk strewn, kernels tooth carved
and husks shorn over the ground
pocked with paw prints.

The borers mashed the squash vine,
the drought tugged the roots of sage,
catmint languished by the sidewalk,
tools grew flowers of rust.

That winter we left our hope
beneath the snow, loved through the last
of the onions, watched the late leeks freeze
to crystal, bent like sedges, their shadows
on the snow. That winter we left
our hope beneath the snow.

Poem copyright 2012 by Gabriel Welsch from his most recent book of poems, “The Death of Flying Things,” WordTech Editions, 2012. Poem reprinted by permission of Gabriel Welsch and the publisher.

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