A Lovely Tangled Mess

ode to Bugleweed

Come, humble beauty,
carpet the winter garden’s waste and rot,
gentle the heads of rocks and wee creatures.
The sweetness of your blue-violet blooms—
manna from heaven to both buzzing and humming.
If you please, toss your blanket over our regrets;
reclaim the ravaged places, smooth the scars,
parlay with the scavenger, skipper, bird and blowfly.

Just beyond the plow’s reach, a neglected cemetery.
The gate fallen; wrought-iron curlicues
lie like dozing infants in the still, soft grass.
Slip past the guardian angel asleep at her post;
embrace the sweet decay of time in the cool, minty shade.
Comfort the once beloved whose names slip away,
grain by grain, from the crumbling sandstone.

And in the evening—your lovely tangled mess,
a soothing balm to the forgotten.
Cling protectively to the toppled headstones
of heroes, the undervalued and the undistinguished.
Hum Taps as night draws near—All is well,
safely rest, God is nigh.

Poem by Karen Whittington Nelson

Karen Whittington Nelson lives a quiet life on a small, Southeast Ohio farm. She writes, inspired by her experiences and family, animals, nature, and the unruly beauty of Appalachia. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Women Speak, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, Northern Appalachia Review, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Gyroscope Review, Pudding Magazine, Autumn Sky Poetry, Main Street Rag and other journals. She presents her work at venues throughout Appalachia with the Women of Appalachia Project.