Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday's Poetry: Dogwood Blossoms

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Yesterday I enjoyed a road trip through the Ozark hills that was highlighted by beautiful bursts of white dogwoods along the hillsides and deep into the valleys.  Having lived in a desert for several years, and before that on a relatively small island out in the Pacific Ocean, I had forgotten how truly amazing the dogwood trees can be.

There is an old standard poem, "The Legend of the Dogwood," that is used throughout the Ozarks to sell postcards.  That poem, whose author is unknown, alleges that Christ was crucified on the wood of a dogwood tree, and that is why they are so small and twisted today - God's revenge.

But there is nothing vengeful or problematic about dogwoods.  These harbingers of spring truly are a joy to behold.

This poem, by the late African-American poet, short story writer, and Congregational minister, George Marion McClellan, celebrates the beauty of the flowering dogwoods, the trees that make our Ozark hills  so special - especially in the spring.

Dogwood Blossoms
by George Marion McClellan

To dreamy languors and the violet mist
Of early Spring, the deep sequestered vale
Gives first her paling-blue Miamimist,
Where blithely pours the cuckoo's annual tale
Of Summer promises and tender green,
Of a new life and beauty yet unseen.
The forest trees have yet a sighing mouth,
Where dying winds of March their branches swing,
While upward from the dreamy, sunny South,
A hand invisible leads on the Spring.

His rounds from bloom to bloom the bee begins
With flying song, and cowslip wine he sups,
Where to the warm and passing southern winds,
Azaleas gently swing their yellow cups.
Soon everywhere, with glory through and through,
The fields will spread with every brilliant hue.
But high o'er all the early floral train,
Where softness all the arching sky resumes,
The dogwood dancing to the winds' refrain,
In stainless glory spreads its snowy blooms.

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