Two Poems

By John Leax


Flourish magazine, Summer 2010

Here
Here is the place of order
made by daily labor.
Against bright sky, the house,
limned by spruce and larch,
grown old in weathered caring,
stands white. Beyond its shadow,
the garden lies down in rows
stretched fondly on the earth.
Forsythia and honeysuckle,
lilac, lily, and blueberry
hedge define commitment’s
reach. Within its bounds
dwarf apples promise cider
mulling on the winter stove
and we, faithful, bound
flesh to flesh, learn
in brokenness the changes
love works in fertile soil.

In the Garden the Word Becomes Flesh
One afternoon, the old man reading
beneath the larch is joined by a child.
He almost fails to notice,
she comes so silently,
barefoot through the grass.

She is holding a book. She sits,
opens it without speaking.

Blue jays shrill, scold, pitch hard consonants
from the sun-blue berries
that are sugar on the empty tongue.

Hydrangeas lean in the wind
gesturing eloquently
to the buddleia;
their voices say other
than the jays’, carry farther,
endure in the brightness.

The old man remains quiet.
The child remains mute. The larch thrives
in the mulch of their silence,
turns gold in time.


John Leax is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer. He was professor of English and poet-in-residence at Houghton College in Houghton, New York from 1968 until his retirement in 2009. His poems, articles, and fiction have been widely published in periodicals and anthologies.His books of poetry include Reaching into Silence (1974), The Task of Adam (1985), Country Labors (1991) and Tabloid News (2005). His novel Nightwatch was published in 1989. His works of non-fiction include In Season and Out (1985), Standing Ground (1991) and Out Walking (2000). Grace Is Where I Live, originally published in 1993, was reissued in a revised and expanded edition by WordFarm in 2004.


“Here” reprinted from Country Labors, Zondervan, 1992. Copyright by John Leax.

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