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Hyssop, Delphinium, Cornflower, Thyme

September 17, 2021

Susan Mulder


A recitation, this liturgy

Of living things, with

Hands deep in the earth.

Their bitterness and sweetness,

Tap roots and green life

Filled with a constant pulse.

Saints’ bones buried

In homage, a rhythm

Of returning—


Hyssop, Delphinium,

Cornflower, Thyme


The oaks all died,

July lighting a lacework

Canopy of naked limbs.

No liturgy, no incantation,

No resurrection for these

Stoic prophets in dusty shoes,

Standing sentinel above

White pine, sassafras,

and last year’s acorns.


Hyssop, Delphinium,

Cornflower, Thyme


Tender leaves on tiny plants,

Confident, waving energetically,

Their strength a mystery,

Sitting in the strange joy of grief

That is memory holding

To the past. What of the oaks—

Old relics to be worried over.

What of the oaks—we thought

They would never die.


Hyssop, Delphinium,

Cornflower, Thyme


Blue towers bending

Over a toddler’s head, one

Who will never remember those trees.

But we are here—

Cornflower twisted with thyme,

A playful crown to adorn

The morning of life, to be saved,

Pressed, and rediscovered

On an unknown day.


Hyssop, Delphinium,

Cornflower, Thyme


It is said flowers

Have their meanings,

As, too, do the oaks.

What do we know

Of the first blooming, or leaf?

Enough for memory to fill

With myriad seeds, reminders

That fruit will bear until here

Is long forgotten.


Hyssop, Delphinium,

Cornflower, Thyme


These oaks, and flowers,

Take their root where once

Foundations stood, where we will be

No more than weakened bone

To feed their roots.

Look here, little one, and old

Alike, the tiny shoots,

The telltale leaves of

A whole new past beginning.

The featured image is courtesy of Sam Keyes and used with his gracious permission for Cultivating.




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