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
After a day of driving, I’m tired.
I turn off at a small cemetery
with Evergreen scrolled
on a wrought iron arch.
It’s peaceful here
with no dead I know
and no one weeping.
I count as many statues
of dogs as granite angels.
The lambs are for babies,
including Carl Peter, two days old.
Here’s a bouquet of new jonquils
left for Alma who died so long ago
rain eroded her last name.
North on unmarked mounds
wild ginger and native violets
grow above Native bones.
Most of the headstones
in Evergreen are already turned
toward the setting sun.
At the horizon, a choir of clouds
wear robes of twilight blue.
Elsewhere in South Dakota
stands a house with its porch light on,
the first star I’ll see tonight.
A Notch in the Spiral
-after a theme of Seferis
We’ve returned to autumn
leaving summer a clear lake on which lilies float.
We are back from the season of light,
of lying in warm grass and watching clouds fly;
we’re back from a time of round birds,
Summer still remains in my hair.
Hands sometimes hold sleek water.
There is the sweet cider of apples in store
and two combs of honey on the shelf.
Now the apples on the trees are faces,
the porch light is out,
and we huddle behind our separate doors.
We come back to autumn,
to zucchini that wilt like witches’ shoes,
to games of solitaire at night,
to silence in the wake of snow geese
which pass high overhead
and empty our mouths with their cries.
-published in Stars Above, Stars Below (New Rivers Press) ©1984 Margaret Hasse
©2016 Margaret Hasse
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