Poetry Friday: April in Iowa

It’s 4:05AM. I’ve let the dogs out and lit a fire in the wood stove. Snow is falling. Last year when I wrote this poem, spring was so very different. Morel mushroom hunters know to look for shrooms when the “oak’s leaves are as big as a mouse’s ear”, and by this time last year they had arrived. So, in honor of spring, here’s a poem inspired by a Katherine Porter praise poem.

Irene is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup at Live Your Poem.

Oak leaf, April 2012

April in Iowa

I never will have time enough
to praise the infant
oak leaf, still frosty white;
To tell how this leaf
bursts each spring from
the end of cold wood
to greet the first rays
of the growing sun.

I never will have time enough
to praise the wild plum blossoms;
six white petals release
to the gathering darkness
the first scent of night;
To say how they float
above inky branches and
below silent bats.

I cannot tell you how the sky
circles toward indigo,
the peepers discover each other
in lustrous song, and
the decaying leaves’
dark sweetness rises
from the forest to release
a song of gratitude.

© Steve Peterson

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: April in Iowa

  1. Pingback: Fresh Poetry on My New Website | inside the dog…

    • Irene! Thank you so much for stopping by to read and offer a comment.

      I’d be more than happy if you would print it in the Birmingham Arts Journal. Thank you for the interest!!

      Best to you and thanks for all the wonderful poetry.

  2. Wonderful descriptions, Steve–I love the”infant oak leaf, still frosty white” and the night scents floating “above inky branches and below silent bats.”
    Here’s hoping you get to see and smell them soon. We had peepers last week in Michigan, but today it’s blustery wind and snow flakes.

    • Hi, Buffy.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      You are lucky to have heard the peepers. They are always one of my favorite spring sounds. Nothing like that here, yet. In fact, after working out in the woods all day yesterday, today the snow is falling fast and thick. No peepers today!

    • Thanks, Matt! We’re getting some maples and, now, the elms blooming, but no leaves yet. Very slow this year.

    • Thanks, Mary Lee! Another in a series of slow-down-and-notice-stuff poems.

      I hope that you are having a wonderful time at the IRA convention in San Antonio. (That’s this weekend, I think…) Wished I could be there. Safe travels.

  3. Steve,
    Another amazing poem. I think I could hang out here all day! (The photograph is pretty impressive too.)

    This month I’ve taken the challenge of writing a poem each day. It’s been hard to write a poem each day without time to let it simmer or spend time crafting its words.

    Words seem to be the biggest struggle for me…finding the words that really work well. You, however, have that part down. There is something about the words you choose; the way they work together to paint a picture and capture a message that causes one to stop to think for a moment.

    This poem is beautiful. Every line is thoughtfully placed, but I must say I found the last stanza to be especially powerful.


    • Thanks so much, Cathy! I’ve enjoyed reading the poems on your site, too! Mary Lee is such a good model for commenting. She’s very active and encouraging. I need to not just read, but also comment! Be more like Mary Lee, I must.

      Words are hard for me. I often spend big bunches of time with them, back and forth, new and old, before the right one accepts an invitation to join the others. What’s weird, though, (and maybe you’ve experienced this, too?) is how NECESSARY the right word can feel sometimes, as if it were that person at the party who gets people talking with each other.

      Thanks for stopping by and for writing a poem a day. Whew!

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