Elder Berries

 

strange elderberries
There have been many days
In the fall of some year
As the first hint of winter nips the air
Finding myself walking on roads meant for cars
Tilting with four wheeled giants
Like some pan-bedecked knight screaming Dulcinea
Diving from traffic into the brush bursting forth in flowers
A final flail of life like a running brook in spring
I have found myself denuding by chance
With no thought to the peril of their staining potency
(What is a stain, anyways?)
Elderberry bushes
Gobs of berries purpling underneath my well-worn heels
Splatting full heavy on the earth –
A prayer, a hope for spring, I guess,
But an inconvenience, nonetheless.
There are certain signs
Easily associated with a season
If one is fortunate to live in a place with them
The first snow flowers near the end of winter,
Buds pink on the nubs of tree limbs, praying for a warm sunny day,
A harvest in midsummer, when fairies like to play;
Elderberries are not so flashy as a Maple Yellow or an Oak Red,
But they tell their story
And if you chance to cross them,
It is one you will find difficult to forget.

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