Tethering by Carolyn Martin

Be tethered to native pastures even if it reduces you
to a backyard in New York.
– Henry James

This morning’s rain kept me inside
and I swear I heard weeds in my flower beds cheer
and aggravated birds crackle in the neighbor’s cherry tree.

More natives to add to the cats, squirrels, moles,
and slugs rough-shodding the yard;
not to mention maples, moss, firs, and perennials seasoning.

But my landscape is running out.
I may have to track down the Polish pasture
where my grandmother plowed courage and tears

or search out my Russian father’s New York flat
which, if memory serves, lacked a bathroom
and stove, not to mention a hint of yard.

This morning’s news might reduce me
to nabbing images from a Mars volcano flow
or the Deep Solar Minimum of our quieting sun

or the 17-year-locusts resurrecting again.
So much life happening beyond my kitchen table
and the tethered views I bank my poems on.

And yet … yesterday I watched errant robins ignore
earthworms to dine on suet cake while my lone iris bulb –
its first time out – exploded into purple-black magnificence.

And it’s true I’ve yet to find words for how
summer breezes train lily leaves to wave at me
or why the brightest star in the western sky comforts my nights.

Always more, Nature whispers, from the corners of my yard.
Of course! I cheer, startling the song sparrow performing
her signature piece from a dripping dogwood tree.

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin is a lover of gardening and snorkeling, writing and photography. Her poems have been published in journals throughout North America, Australia, and the UK. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.

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