Possumhaw: Poetry, blossoms and baseball



Shannon Bardwell



The flowers must be buried in darkness before they can bud and bloom. And the sweetest warmest sunshine comes after the storm and gloom.  


-- "Quite a Year for Plums" by Bailey White 




Only 80 some-odd days until the official start of summer and for us Southerners, summer will come even sooner. Outside my sunroom windows trees are every color of green, the yellow swamp irises surround the lake waving like flags in the wind, tiny leaves peek out from the crepe myrtles, while daisies abound, and the purple irises look 3 feet tall. Snap dragons from last year are overflowing in window boxes as are a few petunias.  


Most splendid is the amaryllis. In a few days it will have four plate-size blooms. I noticed two at first, then a third, and we're expecting a fourth soon. I've had this bulb for years and do nothing the plant books recommend and yet it blooms faithful spring after spring. 


April brings with it, National Poetry Month so I thought it only fitting to find an amaryllis poem:  


When Christmas lights are packed away and winter days stretch long and gray, my gift to you will wake in bloom, a sign that Spring will be here soon.  


To honor National Poetry Month before it's over here's some poetry trivia: The most popular form is Haiku. The longest poem is an Indian epic "Mahabharata." The shortest is George MacDonald's "The Shortest and Sweetest of Songs," having only two words- "Come home." The oldest is "Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh."  


It's said poetry can increase your vocabulary. I looked for a word rhyming with amaryllis but of the 109 suggestions none was suitable and not a single word rhymes with "orange." 


On March 21 World Poetry Day was celebrated globally. In 1995 the Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month. In 1932 the beginnings of the Mississippi Poetry Society was established in Jackson. Is it any wonder poets would organize early as Mississippi is known for its literary soil? The MPS sponsors an annual Spring Fest including a poetry contest that can be found at misspoetry.net.  


In 1963 Mississippi established a State Poet Laureate position. Selected cultural agencies and universities provide a list of qualified nominees for the governor to select one as the state's official state poet. The chosen poet is appointed for four years and selects appropriate poetry to read at state occasions. Currently Beth Ann Fennelly is our state's Poet Laureate. Here she writes warmly of her dad: 


...So pinned between his knees, I held his Old Style in both hands while he streaked the sun block on my cheeks and slurred, "My little Indian princess. Home run: the hairy necks of men in front jumped up, thighs torn from gummy green bleachers to join the violent scramble, Father held me close and said, "Be careful." Be careful. But why should I be full of care with his thick arm circling, my shoulders, with a high smiling sun, like a home run in the upper right-hand corner of the sky? 


Here, here for the lovely season of poetry, blossoms and baseball.  



Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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