Weeding the Labyrinth

Weeding the Labyrinth
Hypatia-in-the-Woods, Shelton, WA

June, and the air smells of rotting logs, wet and fecund
like beginnings and endings, with nothing between.

Buttercups have taken hold on the loamy path,
narrowing the trail with their runners.

It’s hard to yank them out, their cheerful innocence
and shiny petals that smell of sunshine.

The taproots of dandelions are entrenched, like grass
that has crossed over from lawn to weed.

I bend to my task, now digging out plantain
with my fingernails—sole of the foot in Latin—

and pearlwort with splayed stems, a mandala
encompassing the world.

Hidden in the forest, a woodpecker drills holes
into a dead tree trunk where insects have taken refuge.

I gather pinecones shuttled onto the path by wind, toss
them outside the labyrinth beneath their mother tree.

This is the work of poets and gardeners:
clearing the path for others

moving steadily, but circuitously
toward the center of the labyrinth—

nothing but weeds in our hands.

About Margaret Chula

Margaret Chula has published twelve collections of poetry – most recently, One Last Scherzo. A featured speaker and workshop leader, she has also served as president of the Tanka Society of America and as Poet Laureate for Friends of Chamber Music. Living in Kyoto for twelve years, she now makes her home in Portland, Oregon, where she hikes, gardens, and creates flower arrangements for every room of the house. Visit her at: www.margaretchula.com

Read more