Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Lost Seed

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Though childhood is sometimes seen as a time of innocent lightheartedness, it has its own sorrows, as Edward Reilly of Westbrook shows in today’s poem.

The Lost Seed by Edward J. Rielly

Burying my dog was easier than plowing
a field, harder than planting an Easter bulb
for spring blooming. We expected no great crop
from this digging, this planting the seed
of childhood, barks frozen in the slightly open mouth,
the feet that ran to call now slower than molasses,
warm petting-flesh flat and hard, life to leather.
I dreamed, though, there might be some bloom,
yellow or purple, leaning its fragile head into sun,
a thin stalk green-leaved, touch of perfume.
I watched, instead, the summer come and go, winter
fall white and cold, other seasons, an eternity
or two: and the hard silence unbearable at times--
a hand aching to be licked, fingers stroking air.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2005 Edward J. Rielly. Reprinted from Ways of Looking: Poems of the Farm, Moon Pie Press, 2005, by permission of Edward J. Rielly. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.