Charles Harper

For Jay Chase

Every spring
since she died

I watch her daffodils
rise, new-green and small
from the soil
where she planted them.
Day after April day
I watch them rise
into radiance – gold
and mortal

Wind bends
their slender stems,
nods their heads,
to lingering grief

Death is real
but is a thin word,
too diminished,
too emaciated
by what is not
to speak of what is

Look on these flowers
in their five seasons

of green rising,
irrepressible budding,
jubilant flowering,
mortal fading
and long dark absence

No season is forever,
all circling

Mortal maker of words,
in whom burns fierce
turbulence of stars,
can you imagine a vocabulary
for what is stored in the heart
of a small gnarled bulb?