Dividing Hostas

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Dividing Hostas

From morning on the tallest days
a humble woman stretches low,
to work beneath the speckled rays:
she gathers limbs and pushes strays—
the brittle leaves from fall’s last show.

All through the summer space she’ll toil
to give the clustered plants a view.
On stiffened knees she surveys loyal
the crowded den of stalk and soil
to yield more ground for one or two.

A warm wind from the west then blows,
and gently bends the oaks which stare:
her steady arms stretch to expose
the arching hosta stems she’s chose—
from single plant she forms a pair.

And timid lilies watch the art:
this hunch-backed woman giving birth.
A spade digs sure a hole to start.
With care she nurses stems apart:
one plant—now two—fills back the earth.

Dividing hostas times the tides.
This call of garden work’s the prayer.
The strength of mother lies inside;
to these—her young—her reach confides
to halve the burdens of despair.

While empty home behind her sighs–
the haunting hush of void’s redress.
And from its windows peer the eyes:
two sons who’ve gone their lives to press.
Now verdant twins mend loneliness.

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“Dividing Hostas” was written in August of 2006, almost two years before my mother was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2008. She passed on February 15, 2009 — and has been my Valentine ever since.

Unfortunately, she never saw this piece.

I love you, Mom.

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Note — The photograph of the “Rainbow’s End” hosta was borrowed from the website of Connecticut’s White Flower Farm.

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