All through the winter,
the long dead stalks have stood
at one angle or another,
mostly tilted in the same direction
though with varying degrees
of successful commitment,
generally leaning toward the north.
In early April,
owing to an unlikely collaboration
of morning rain,
and an especially unlikely inclination
to do something more useful than interesting,
I am pulling up the dead shoots
and raking out the dead leaves—
some caught in the last few days of hard wind
and some that decided to spend the entire winter
matted against the base of sage.
A few months of damp aging
have changed the leaves into that dark mass
of what leaves last are before becoming
something more organic,
something closer to dirt and dust,
a musty changing into the soil
from which they were born.
As I rake away the darkened mat,
I see several pale slender stalks,
shoots of this year’s growth
springing up from the roots,
ghostly white and searching for the light,
using whatever might remain from last year’s store
to bend and push their way through
whatever the winter has laid upon them:
a determined newness doing whatever it takes
to make its way into all that is needed
for growing and being.
Nothing less than that
will survive the weighting darkness.