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Judy Lorenzen

Voices of Spring

Nearly spring,
snow patches over
winter fields, pastures—
in this dying season’s end,
I see Norma’s squares
on Max’s overalls—
years of her mending love.

Under these evening skies, quiet fires
of wintry constellations fade.
Our first spring without her—

Yet, beneath this soil
silently singing—
the prairie flowers’ song
stirs—sweet music
that buds trees, sprouts stalks;
Norma loved this season—
this “time to sow.”

Max, bedridden,
Tiffany Square Nursing Home,
plows fields,
talks chores needing to be done—
hears Norma call, “Time to eat,”
not knowing—
his wife is dead.
He’s in another world,
where clocks tick backwards,
where sons are fathers.

But this is the way it is—
“What do you do?”
I hear my dead father’s voice—

and Norma answers,
“You go ahead;
you sprout;
you bud,
you burst into blossom,
let your roots go deep,
cast your fragrance,
and green.”

Silent Communion
     The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread. Blaise Pascal

I cannot live without these trees,
without these grasses
and wild things—
resting quietly in wine-colored pastures.
Just now, a doe and her two fawns
emerge from the field,
carefully stepping out crackling
stillness absence,
but I am here listening.
Silence syllables in,
in meter—
migrant workers’ wings pump, rise, pump, rise—
undulations across an orangish-purple sunset,
reverberating orange shards through these pines.
I cannot live without these skies, wide and alive with rhythm, color—
when dusk comes early in pre-wintry red hush,
and speechless stars shine flamboyantly.
Winter slips in softly—
this season that shuts down the world—
cold, pristine,
white goose’s quills fall quietly—
downy quilt covers farm and fields—
then fly away.
And who said that the earth laughed in flowers
should see this riotous pasture in spring—
pasque flowers, dwarf blue indigos, and wild rose—
which lures even the most rebellious eye,
while giggling with unspeakable joy.
I live to hear their joviality.
I cannot live without dragonflies, hummingbirds,
or June’s fireflies,
orange moon’s reflection off of Silver Creek,
lone blue heron resting on its grassy bank—
I live to partake of this communion.

Morning, January 1, 2007

For the last three days,
a Winter storm system
has crept across Merrick County—
freezing rains fell in sheets of dangerous beauty.

When morning broke,
I woke
to this jeweled cathedral,
silver world sculpted
by Winter’s crystalline hands.

Underneath these blue, blue skies,
shiny stubbled snowfields stretch out like a varnished wooden floor;
sun bursts radiant rays,
striking the tops of fragile old oaks—
they glisten back in blinding light.
I squint hard to admire
this countryside, a giant gemstone—
the barbed wire fence,
a diamond bracelet sparkling
on Winter’s wrist
as she lifts her crystal goblet, refracting light—
little ice-coated tree with empty nest
rising from the ditch—
to toast this new year.
Light winds play the icicled branches
like a chime,
while Steve skates his pickup
on shellacked graveled roads
to knock ice off electric fences,
chop holes in ice-covered water tanks
for his cattle.

I stand here
taking in this strange beauty—
while rifle reports
of snapping ice-laden branches
crash on the ground,
and I wonder if any has died
at Winter’s dazzling, deadly hands.