Earthrise, December 1968, Image by Apollo 8

Friday, December 9, 2016

To Make a Frost Flower

Athens, Georgia
December 14, 2015; revised 2016

You could go a whole life 
scarcely aware of ephemera. 
How frost flowers grace 

the morning hours in unkempt 
ditches, ragged shoulders, 
borders and abandoned fields 

that first hard freeze of fall. 
Consider the White Crownbeard  
how it grows. It flourishes 

in heat of summer, flowers 
ugly early autumn, leaves 
a stick carcass standing 

barren to the bitter wind 
that rattles down the winter. 
But come the quiet dawn 

when cold envelops open 
fields and seeps inside 
the hardened earth — 

when morning crackles 
frostweed blooms. Up 
from old roots, sap bleeds 

through breached stems, 
oozing into open air
as frozen locks of cotton 

candy, silver swirls 
of crystal clouds leaven 
its now broken body. 

Translucent grace is born 
to morning, gone by noon. 
Wounded by winter the weed 

turns guts to ghostly flowers 
and waits for the inconceivable 
spring to rise again from roots.