May 2010

Philip Terman


Philip Terman's collections of poetry include The House of Sages (Mammoth, 1998), Book of the Unbroken Days (Mammoth, 2005) and Rabbis of the Air (Autumn House, 2007). Recent work can be found in The Laurel Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Sun Magazine. He is a co-director of the Chautauqua Writer's Festival and teaches English and creative writing at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

One Continuous Blossoming    

     You do not count on this abundance,
          but all winter long you consult the catalogues,
               order the seeds and dust off the grow lights,

          begin again the plotting of what goes where—
     every year you hold true to your imagined Eden.

     You tilled the soil, planted the seed, weeded and watered,
          cultivating your obligations to the earth.

     And so that summer we ate garden everything.

     Swallowtails surveyed the tassels.
     Wind every-so-often reopened its song.
     Tomato sauce boiled but didn't boil over.

     And the poems I wrote were full of loss,
          but of loss with grace,
               in the shadow of the willow—

     we were finding our way into a rhythm,
          recalling who we were: June, after all,

               what you wanted to hold onto,
roses against the redbrick, poppies soft as tissues,
     strawberries fully red and hidden in the unmown grasses,

     the mock orange spreading its white blossoms over the porch swing—
          when the petals drop, the children call them:
               warm snowflakes—

               June, season of tomato stakes
          and tossing straw onto the potatoes,
     hard green apples and blueberries and grapes shaping themselves,
          the flowering blackberries proliferating along the field's edge—

     and, late afternoons,
          the sun rounding the sky's absolute blue,
               the garden layered in shadow,
          the children splashing their thin bodies against the heat—

you pause,
          hands resting on the handle of your hoe,
     the sweat of your body's labor sweetening the air,

     and allow yourself the distraction that, yes, perhaps:
          it's all one continuous blossoming,
               these cells that everywhere sing their pulsing songs,

     your life.



Philip Terman: Poetry
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