What drives the seasons’ slow wheel across the year?
How do barren February trees sprout small red cocoons
To silently burst feathered leaves in spring?
Rooted in moist, fragrant moss, what
Furls and unfurls ferns over time
Like slow motion party favors?
What inflates the spongiform flesh of mushrooms
Without benefit of sunlight or even the smallest blessing?
What mystery sends insect-seeded galls to sprout
Among branches that reach a full foot further than last year?
How does a finely petaled flower exude
The delectably soft swelling
Of an improbably large plum or peach?
Is it some concealed mechanism? An inner clock
Pressing hidden hands forward? Or a magnetism
That invigorates all things?
Is it just the moon’s vast intangible pull
That causes sap to rise and roots to run?
Perhaps a sacred underground estuary
Pumps life through stems like straws.
Whatever causes the silent sizzle of the sun
That lifts leaves and fronds and fescues
And summons twigs and needles from nothing
Also beckons brambles and spiky thistles
Combs cockleburs from the ground, reminds us
Nature demands only obedience, not beauty.