August 23/365 Lupines

Someone scattered the first seed heads.
Was it Fritz or Big Mum? Or perhaps
The children, playing in the pasture
Popped fuzzy lupine pods and pushed
The flat gray seeds free, falling into weeds.
Until then, no one cared about that acre
Just land before the woods, junk space.
The rest was tended, gardened. An apple
Tree, two mock oranges, lilacs, a border
Of forsythia and peonies. Plowed squares
For early peas, potatoes, green beans
And the rest of Big Mum’s kitchen spread.

But someone scattered lupine seeds which
Broke through neglect and waste, rising
Regally over the thistle, an Alpine vision
Violet, pink, blue. And Fritz took note.
He harvested the pods, and walking slow
To woods and back, his brown hands dropped
The seeds. He sewed the acre. The plants
Sprouted thick and spiraled out their leaves,
Many lances circling green stems, and spikes
Of folded flowers, tiny keels embraced by wings.
Encouraged, the lupines battled weeds
And claimed domain until all that remained
Was an acre of improbable flowers, mowed
Grass hemming in their three foot wall.

This was the backdrop of my world. Thick
With bugs, and sticky sap, a humming brush
Of winged creatures, a barrier of life and birth
Seeds and bees and all things colored amethyst.
We did not cross the mow line. Fear was there
Because who knew what grew beneath
In the dark places of roots and rotting leaves,
Where beetles ruled, and worms poked through
To taste the damp mineral air. We knew, as only
Children can, that wonders often contain both
Heaven and a nightmare, so we left best alone
And watched the flowers from the safety
Of a hemlock branch, or better yet, a window.

The field is gone. The lupines mowed.
Long years have passed now. Such a ragged
Buggy mess – it had no place in a world
Of lawn and tended land, so with no fear,
My father cut their stems and stopped
The ever falling seeds. My mother stole
Some pods, and nursed the seedlings, broke
Them into garden plants, and now they bloom
Far from Fritz’s field. And yet, in dreams
I never could control, there often rises a wall,
Dark and sweet, I have no strength to pass.
What lies behind, I will never fully grasp.


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