I grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota, and was educated at Stanford University (B.A., English) and the University of Minnesota (M.A., English). I started writing poetry when I was a child and never stopped. For the past thirty years, I’ve lived in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I teach and consult with arts organizations on their plans and programs. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate in receiving some awards for my poetry, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. My fifth book of poetry, Between Us, will be released in 2016. Visit my website at www.MargaretHasse.com
He came at a price leaving
a note when he left:
“Lost on what are flowers
and what are weeds.”
He hoped his work met my approval
and billed me.
I held the paper
and looked at pillage.
The would-be gardener
had uprooted the petunias,
unveiled the bridal veil
before her time.
He’d unwrapped the soft soil
from the trillium roots,
disregarded the infancy
of the pansies, twisted noses
from the nasturtiums.
Much in little, Thoreau said,
in Latin, and Pete, the so-called
gardener, evidently understood.
I had been given too many
irises to be pure.
I’d lived beyond my daylily means.
I had to let go of tulips, daffodils
in order to rise
to a spiritual plane, look down
on the clarified earth,
the grave of these blossoms—
celebrations of the soil—
bright, lost pleasures.
In May, One Year
I wish things wouldn’t open so wide and be famished.
Today I broke a bloodroot.
A line of orange beads formed on the stem.
Earlier, there had been spring blossoms
like soft tissue beneath a fan of leaves.
The bloodroot’s broken stem dried quickly
and seemed to heal as if it were a scratch.
The incident seemed as common as the beheading
of a dandelion, poor blond dish.
On my knees, I turn over a rock,
touch off an alarm with my weeding claw.
Ants rush about, their tri-part pubic bodies.
I lower the lid on the flagstone; panic subsides.
Later, the bloodroot lay shriveled as if it’d been burned.
The voice of the plant called out, was spent.
May is the month my parents died.
The month of May is hungry, has small white hands.
May, a Year Later
A squirrel dallies on the limb, making it sway
as a child might, riding the branch to a gallop.
The backyard’s leathery and patchy white.
I want to own all the corners of my house,
bake bread from honey and winter’s wheat.
Goodbye to cold.
Welcome spring, you wild blue kite.
Tomorrow the thermometer will break sixty.
The flowers catch the fever,
rush toward their season
of lilacs, shy guests,
of violets the size of blue-tip kitchen matches.
After its solid state, the earth
begins stretching for a new map.
The yard’s a slick wet black.
The garden, where I dig, a wet and deeper black.
Under the patched and dented snow,
the green begins its old new song.
Tridents prick the dirt: daylilies.
Standing by the back window, I’m happy.
I think about it a while.
It’s still true.
- three poems from In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling
©2016 Margaret Hasse