Early Seeding

Before the spring,
before the bare twigs
of my season tree began to show
a damp green haze
within their brittle net,
I caught one day a neighbor
out with hoe and spade
to turn the earth
and seed an early garden.
I did not think it bold to ask,
since the old man was of an age
too near eternal mystery
to hide the little that he knew.
He saw the question coming
because I asked with the eyes
before I asked straight out.
'Early for a garden ain't it? '
He didn't stop to clean his spade.
He knew exactly what he'd say
and looked to see if I was set to hear.
An early spring would come was all he said.
I wanted something more profound
and kept him on the hook.
'What if spring is late
and your work's undone
by late frost? ' I asked.
'Suppose it is, ' he said
and sunk his spade again.

by Barry Middleton

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Comments (3)

Life on moving.Wisely felt and painted.
In northern Illinois, killing frosts come as late as the end of May. I save seeds in the fall, and get a head start in late winter. I have about 300 plants growing in my window sills and am anxious to get them outside as soon as possible. I am not yet at the age where I'll take the risk of putting them out 'early' just because I think I may die before they mature and I can fully appreciate them.
Nice poem. We have planted some garden, the earliest I can remember, and have radishes coming up now. Other thing in pots inside.