nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘poem

lily-of-the-valley

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lily-of-the-valley

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Convallaria majalis L.

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where they came from

I do not know, perhaps

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from my mother’s old home

in a shovel-full of lilac

a sheet of white writing paper

in a green box crammed with letters

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perhaps from my grandfather’s farm

tucked in beside the creeping Jenny

a green and white plate printed

with a saying about home

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perhaps from a seed in the gravel

spread on the paths or the road

a line of red pebbles

in a spill of quartz

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every summer the colony spreads

green flames lick at gravel

white bells, delicate perfume

scarlet berries

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a letter not written

a plate hung on the wall

a pathway leading home

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All my best!

Stay safe!

Jane

Written by jane tims

October 7, 2020 at 7:00 am

scraps of paper

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Occasionally I tackle a stack of stray papers. These are usually bits saved years ago, once thought important. Sometimes I find a scrap of poetry among receipts and old letters. Poetry scribbled when an idea occurs, on any scrap within reach.

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This week I found a draft poem about following rules and the evidence left behind by bad behavior. I have always loved picking blackberries, so it is no surprise to me that picking blackberries was used as a metaphor in the poem.

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defiance

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no denying

the evidence —

pulled threads

and stained fingers

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one drupe

with all its packets

could never mark

so well, each finger

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rolled across the page

indigo tongue

and purple lips, words

blackberry-spoken

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the rule — never take

the path through woods

stick to the road, resist

blueberries, blackberries

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avoid the risk

of bears and brambles

hints of danger

in faerie tales

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Last spring I spent time pulling together some of my many poems into three upcoming books of poetry. This poem will fit well into my manuscript titled ‘niche,’ poems about the spaces plants, animals and people occupy.

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All my best!

Follow the rules of social distancing!

Stay safe!

Jane

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Written by jane tims

October 5, 2020 at 7:00 am

the wisdom of faerie tales

with 2 comments

As I write and revise the poetry for my ‘garden escapes‘ project, I search for references to enrich my poems. One category of these is the faerie tale. Many faerie tales include gardens in their tale-telling. Some include wisdom to be applied to my experience of the abandoned garden.

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I have chosen three faerie tales to include in my poems:

Rapunzel: the beautiful girl with the long, long hair is imprisoned in the tower because her father makes a bargain with a witch. In one version of the tale, the father steals rampion bellflower from the witch’s garden and gives his daughter as compensation.

Beauty and the Beast: a beautiful girl falls in love with an ugly beast. The tale tells us that you must sometimes look beneath the exterior to find inner beauty. This is another tale where a father is caught stealing a flower (a rose) from a garden and gives his daughter as compensation. Hmmmm.

Sleeping Beauty: when the princess is put to sleep, a thorny vine grows around the castle to hide her away.

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I have included these faerie tales in three of the poems I have written. Below is my poem incorporating the tale of Sleeping Beauty.

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wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

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I think the story of Sleeping Beauty requires a little retelling, to make the princess less compliant. The three vines in the poem are:

  • Clematis (Clematis virginiana): names include virgin’s bower and devil’s darning needle. This climbing vine has delicate white flowers and fluffy seeds
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia): an aggressive climber with leaves palmately divided into five lobes
  • Wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata): a prickly annual vine and a climber with tall columns of white flowers

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Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

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Sleeping Beauty

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“… round about the castle there began to grow a hedge of thorns, which every year became higher, and at last grew close up round the castle and all over it, so that there was nothing of it to be seen … ” –The Tale of Sleeping Beauty, the Brothers Grimm

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three vines whisper—

Clematis virginiana

Virginia creeper

wild cucumber, reshape

the hawthorn, the rose

with frail flowers

and five fingers

tendrils like springs

disguise the thorns

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keep curiosity seekers away

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dampen noises from

beyond the barrier

where wakeful Beauty

taps her nails

on foundation granite

wonders if anyone

will dare to tear

at tendrils, breach wall

of thorn and vine

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the need for rescue always in doubt

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only decades ago

a home chuckled

behind the hedgerow

mowed lawn and a dyer’s garden

tansy at the cellar door

flax in the meadow

Beauty dibbling seeds

deadheading flowers

tying up sweet pea

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only the cellar remains

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perhaps she will slash

her way through hawthorn

rip out wild cucumber

scrape away suckers of creeper

tame the hawthorn, the briar

renovate house and barn

encourage the scent of sweet pea and petunia

transparency of hollyhock and mallow

whisper of yellow rattle, rustle of grasses

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no more virgin’s bower

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Clematis virginiana

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This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

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All my best.

Are you getting COVID-fatigue?

Stay alert!

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 1, 2020 at 7:00 am

garden escapes: vectors

with 2 comments

The term ‘vector’ has different meanings depending on the discipline. In university I took two engineering courses that occupied me in the study of ‘vector’ mathematics!

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In biology, a ‘vector’ is any organism or physical entity that moves an element from one place to another. The idea of vectors is used in epidemiology, in reproductive biology, and in ecology. When I try to understand garden escapes, I am interested in vectors for seed or vegetative dispersal.

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Once a garden is abandoned, the plants there will either die, persist or escape. They escape by way of rhizomes (horizontal roots), rooting of plant parts (suckering) or spreading of seeds.

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Seeds or pieces of plant can be spread to other locations by various vectors: water, soil, air or animals. Seeds, for example, can be carried along by water in a ditch, or can spread by wind that carries seeds on specially adapted seed parts.

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dandelion fluff 2

air as a vector for seed transport

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Animal vectors include insects, birds, mammals (including humans). Some of this is deliberate (a squirrel burying acorns) and some is accidental (humans spreading seed by moving soil from one area to another).

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squirrel as a vector

squirrel as a vector for transport of seed

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The various garden escapes I have encountered usually have their preferred vectors.

  • lupines- seeds carried through air as a projectile
  • orange day-lilies- rhizomes through soil
  • yellow loosestrife- rhizomes through soil
  • creeping bellflowers- rhizomes through soil
  • rose bushes- roots through soil; humans who dig up and replant shoots
  • grape vines – suckering, seeds, humans

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This is a poem about a human vector (me):

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paths to come and go on

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Old rugosa rose,

brought the stem and root,

across the ferry

from Grand Manan,

in a banana peel.

Every summer pale

pink blooms on an arc

of thorns, biggest hips

you ever saw. Rose

will outlast the house

and all who live here.

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Virginia creeper

dug From the river bank

below the willow

on Waterloo Row.

Overcomes the pole

and every summer

the power people

pull the creeper down.

Red in the autumn,

sneaks across the lawn,

started down the drive

and along the road.

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The staghorn sumac

pinnate leaves spreading

cast purple shadows,

give a tropical air

to the driveway.

Brought the root and slip

from the gravel pit

in Beaver Dam.

New shoots every year.

Headed direction

of Nasonworth,

last time I looked.

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34 Olinville road pink roses crop

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Note that this project ‘garden escapes’ is funded under a Creations Grant from artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board).

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All my best!

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

garden escapes: mallow

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Mallow was one of the first flowers I had in my garden back in 1980 when we started our own home. Musk mallow (Malva moschata) has deeply divided leaves, papery pink or white petals and a pleasant scent. I loved it so much, I included it in my bridesmaid’s bouquet when I was married.

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Mallow often escapes the garden to live in ditches and in fields. In his Flora of New Brunswick, Hal Hinds says vervain mallow (Malva alcea) has escaped to the borders of fields in the Woodstock area of New Brunswick. So, I was on the lookout for the flower when we drove west of Woodstock to look at abandoned properties. And mallow was one of the first plants we found, growing in the ditch.

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3 white mallow Dugan road

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3B closeup of white mallow Dugan road

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We also found mallow growing at the edge of cultivated fields.

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60B mallow edge of field BlowdownDSCN1223

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mallow

Malva moschata

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wind-blown and paper

petals transparent

veined, flutter

in wind

the leaves

frayed and notched

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petals, perfumed in musk

pale pink and white

roadside edged

in field-flowers, bedstraw

day-lilies, yarrow and vetch

and musk mallow, garden escape

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to the edge of the field

to the edge of the road

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2B mallow Digan road

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Stay home,

wear your mask.

You don’t have to escape.

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This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 13, 2020 at 7:00 am

abandoned gardens: a pantoum about lilacs

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Over the years, faced by change, some communities continue to thrive. Others, once vigorous, may decline and disappear. Sometimes, communities may hang on but individual homes may be abandoned. Abandonment can occur if the owner moves away or dies, or if aspects of the home become unsustainable (for example, a water source dries up).

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When a home is abandoned, what becomes of the vegetable garden, so carefully tended, or the flower gardens, each plant chosen with love and care?

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Annuals are usually the first to go, although biennials may continue to grow for a year and some plants, like sweet William or pansies, may reseed. Perennials may thrive, sometimes for years. Rhubarb, chives and berry crops often continue to grow in a vegetable garden. In the flower garden, peonies, day-lilies and phlox may bloom year after year. Trees and shrubs often persist.

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63 rhubard Dugan Road

rhubarb persisting in an old garden

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In my poetry project about abandoned gardens, I want to learn more about various poetry forms. The poem below is written as a pantoum. A pantoum consists of four line stanzas. The second and forth lines of the preceding stanza are used as the first and third lines of the next. The first line of the poem may also be used as the last.

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The poem below is written about an abandoned house in central New Brunswick. Keep in mind, these properties are still owed by someone and the owners may care a great deal about them and perhaps use the property if not the house.

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lilac bush next to an old house

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lilacs persist

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delicate scribble of winter wren

lilac, a cushion of shadow and green

props the abandoned house

roof rusted, clapboards and shingles grey

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lilac, a cushion of shadow and green

at night leaves peer in windows

roof rusted, clapboards and shingles grey

features sculpted by overlapping leaves

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at night they peer in windows

stare, front windows to back yard

features sculpted by overlapping leaves

scented panicles of purple bloom

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stare, front windows to back yard

noses tuned to lilac sweet

scented panicles of purple bloom

lilacs persist and thrive

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noses tuned to lilac sweet

roof rusted, clapboards and shingles grey

lilacs persist and thrive

delicate scribble of winter wren

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lilacs~

This work is supported by a Creation Grant from artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board)!

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Perhaps we can learn from the lilac …

persist and thrive.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 6, 2020 at 7:00 am

talking trees

with 4 comments

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trees in conversation

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they say

if trees communicate

they do so

beneath the ground

communication network

of rootlets

and mycelia

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I still listen

above ground

to the friction squeal

of trunks

rubbing together

flutter of birch bark

whisper of leaves

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I think they try

to learn my language

speak to me

of longevity, the cycle

of the story in layers

added year to year

bilingual trees

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 1, 2020 at 7:00 am

Ball’s Bridge’

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In southern Ontario, the Maitland River winds through fields and woodlands before it empties into Lake Huron at Goderich.

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When we visited the area two summers ago, we discovered the Ball’s Bridge on the Little Lakes Road.

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Ball’s bridge was built over the Maitland River in 1885. It is a rare example of a two-span pin-connected Pratt through-truss iron bridge and one of the oldest wrought-iron Pratt bridges in the US and Canada. The bridge was built at a time when horse-drawn carriages and carts were its only traffic. In 2006 the bridge was declared unsafe for the weight of modern vehicles. In 2008, the bridge was saved from further deterioration and eventual destruction by the Friends of Ball’s Bridge.

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The poem below tries to capture the interplay of light and shadow as we crossed Ball’s Bridge and drove the local roads.

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Ball’s Bridge, Maitland River

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on the first day of fall

landscape is criss-crossed

in lattice and wire

spider web and the flight paths

of pigeon-flutter

to the high lines

of the iron bridge

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rays of light

find solar panels

and the backs of turtles

sunning on river logs

the inter-lacing

of dark water and light

the shadows of metal and truss

intercepting wire

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cornfields

and winter wheat

embedded rows

a river and its valley

and a hawk follows

panels of air, first frost

and meltwater collects

on oval lily pads

yellowed leaves

rusted wire

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This is the second metal bridge we have visited in Ontario. A few years ago we photographed the South Nation River Bridge, in Glengarry County, not far from Cornwall. That bridge has been removed, another loss from our built landscape. For the story of our visit to the South Nation River metal bridge click here

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All my best,

Jane Tims

 

 

Written by jane tims

March 16, 2020 at 7:00 am

colour: solemn, sombre

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October in New Brunswick is an explosion of colour. However,  as the red and orange leaves fall, browns and yellows begin to dominate the landscape.

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View of Nerepis marsh looking south. The ferry is crossing the river, barely visible in the mist.

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Colour variety in the marsh grasses.

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Hay-scented fern adds yellows and browns to the ditches.

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solemn, sombre

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walked out to see you

once again as you

lay dying, somber

the soft light, marsh grass

leaning in the rain

autumn colour fades

tones solemn, ochre

of poplar and birch,

straw-pale, hay-scented

fern, Solidago

and tansy, shadows

in the ditch, the heads

of Typha

burst to seed

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Copyright Jane Tims 2019

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Best wishes everyone!

Jane

 

 

Written by jane tims

October 19, 2019 at 7:00 am

Posted in natural history

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

abandoned spaces: remnant plants

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On a drive towards the centre of the province, we found the property below to exemplify what happens to the surrounding vegetation when home sites are abandoned.

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On the property, I could see the old home, the roof fallen in, the tin roof rusted on the half that was not shingled. All around were wildflowers, most noticeable, the fireweed. There were also remnants of cultivated plants:

  • lilac
  • rose bushes
  • hops
  • orange day-lilies

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DSCN0503 apple tree.jpg

 

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Street View, Google Earth gives a glimpse of the property back in 2009.

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remnants

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Not meant to sprawl but climb, hops

crouch between grass, fireweed.

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Recline, each five-fingered leaf

with spaces between digits.

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Remnants of pink rose bushes

and an apple tree, apples

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green but plentiful. Lilac

lifts spent and skeletal blooms.

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The two-track road still leads to

back pasture, woodlot beyond.

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Orange day-lilies echo

the rusty reds of tin roof,

the house fallen to decay.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 6, 2018 at 7:00 am

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