Fertile Earth
Anne Whitehouse
?
                                      I.

In the corner of the garden
we found the perfect spot
for the damask rose “Celsiana,”
but when we dug, we hit a boulder.
I said, “Let’s plant somewhere else.”
“No,” she disagreed, “we’ll find a way.”
 
For two hours we dug around it,
but couldn’t get it to budge.
With a plank, we made a lever.
The two of us stood on one end
and bounced up and down
and finally felt it dislodge.
 
It took two planks and the two of us
working all day to dig it out:
there, at last, unearthed,
a rock the size of a coffee table.
Two women, one aging and one old--
we gaped in awe of what we’d done.

                                        II.

With patience, forbearance, and a stubborn will,
almost any obstacle can be made to yield.
 
She taught me to trust myself to find a way;
she taught me to look for it close at hand.
 
In the rock’s place grows the sturdy rose,
whose soft pink blooms and golden stamens
delight our summers.
 
The rock remained, too big to take away;
transplanted ferns now shelter in its shade.
   
                                      III.

All afternoon before the rain,
I clipped the dead hostas’ withered stems
and raked out piles of dead leaves from the beds.
 
Wet and chill, as if a cloud had sunk to earth,
in the strangely muffled air of November,
I listened to the chirp of a hawk circling overhead.
 
My body bent to my labors; my mind wandered free.
Make room! More room!
 


Anne Whitehouse

is the author of six poetry collections—The Surveyor’s Hand, Blessings and Curses, Bear in Mind, One Sunday Morning, The Refrain, and her new volume, Meteor Shower, published by Dos Madres Press in 2016. Recent honors include winner of the 2016 Songs of Eretz poetry prize, first prize in the 2016 RhymeOn! poetry contest, 2016 Poems of gratitude award, and second prize in 2016 F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum poetry contest.

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