A poem inspired by Spring, gardens, and the gift of renewal. I found many of these phrases in my notebook from an old writing exercise and decided to work them into a fairy tale this morning. Creating this garden-world and its characters was fun. I’d love to see this illustrated one day!
Tall as a nose
perky as a penny
Candle Eyes slept in the shade
of a garden gnome
and played on warm deck planks
when Giant was away.
One distraught Sunday in April,
Candle packed her petal purse,
to seek golden eggs by the tree
known to catch flies with lemons.
You see, Candle lost her brilliance
among weeping rosebushes this winter.
Only a golden egg could give an inch,
make the shoes of joy fit,
uncurling gloomy visions
to remember blushes of seasons.
Her friends needed magic too,
quiet as pots that never boil,
trapped for a week in the bucket Giant
left beside an old Buddha bust
when tending to tulip bulbs.
Candle knew the grindstone makes the best juice,
so she set on her way alone,
bravely looking in two directions at once,
beginning a turbulent tango
across the scrubby garden.
Candle Eyes humbly cut dried weeds on this rusty trip,
leaving no lying fairies unturned.
She slew moss and then hitched to Squirrel,
in search of golden eggs.
When they neared Giant’s cushion castle
still locked since summer,
jumped from Squirrel’s tail
landing upside down beside King.
—what bright luck!
Candle Eyes bowed
before the praying bulging-eyed King
pleading with the mantis
on the stool
to show a straight trail shining to this
lemon tree of wholesome golden delight,
King’s stiff triangular lip pointed where
angels feared to hang.
He tapped for wisdom on a newly
thawed rotten apple
towering beside them.
He declared the quality of soil was strained
and then nodded toward a rocky road
by the pond to the lemon tree and its teacher:
a turtle with wooden ears.
“Don’t give up the bite or the fire,” King warned.
“Or the mousetrap will carpé diem! Get it? Snap!”
Candle Eyes tasted caution,
assured her voyage must be next to divinity
as she travelled deep cold
muddy pond waters with shallow breaths
and blurry footing.
On the other side
by a shrub near the bird in the hand
Candle asked Turtle resting
on the mulch about golden eggs.
“Say as I do, not as I say:
There are two sides to every river,
the love of lightning is the window
to the barrel beyond fallen Ps and Qs,”
its shell peeling like oranges,
“Listening is believing.
The pen wasn’t built in one picture
and a thousand words.”
Candle Eyes hungered to declare
poetry too, madly crisscrossing
eyes fiercely closed
crying out desperately
against Turtle’s clouded intelligence
among spilt stones in a dizzy
frenzy of questions
and more questions
Candle Eyes opened:
A shining lemon tree,
precise and sharp.
Crisp and clear.
golden eggs popped up roots
and down branches,
glowing confident promise,
Luscious ripe magical
springtime harvest nourished
by unpredictable climate.
Candle Eyes twirled in newfound perception
realizing joy flames wilder
Fuzzy paths, grouchy kings,
murky turtles, enchanted
golden lemon trees matter very
little when up against
Candle Eyes vibrated:
shines directly from
my fiery quest.”
© Jessica Outram