Steve McEllistrem

The Devereaux Dilemma

Everyone’s a Poet

Or at least everyone should be. Playing with words produces joy and helps expand our vocabulary. Trying to find creative ways to say the same old things benefits our brains. So I try to write at least a few poems a year to keep the old gray matter in fine fettle. They needn’t be great; they needn’t even be good, but they must be effortful. They require tending. You can’t just slap them together like a ham sandwich. Here is my latest:

Cup Plants

Yellow petals explode

A summer supernova

Compelling 6, wait, 8

No, 14 goldfinches to appear

Most of them male

All alighting gently

Hopping from flower to flower

Stems swaying

Bobbing precariously to their combined weight

While the plants surrender their nectar

Without complaint

As if the sole reason for their existence

Is to sustain the birds

And not the soul

Of the man who planted them.


November stems and desiccated leaves remain

Cluttered against the graying skies

The impending winter

Promising snows

To crimp and topple them

Until they lay flat upon the ground

Trampled on

Crushed beneath the boots

Of the man who passes.


April emerges

Broken stems finally discarded

By the man who tends the patch

While roots

Having patiently endured

The indifferent bitter chill

Now sense the need to soar again

Regenerating, pushing upward

Into Sol’s freedom

Where new buds

Open their eyes for the first time



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