Haibun: Wild Plums – a poem by Kathryn MacDonald


One day you look through the window, see sticks – slender trunks, slivers of branches along the fencerow. Too early for leaves, the colony of wild plums stands bare. The next day, like a butterfly – first a thumb of dull pupa, then a kaleidoscope of colour – the trees have burst into spectacle. Tiny white flowers, startlingly pure and fresh, erupt against the dull pasture of early spring. The blossoms – short-lived food for early bees – scent the season, renewing the promise of summer-green leaves and fall fruit. I steal from the bees: bring an armload of blossoms into the sitting room where the warmth of the woodstove this evening will release their perfume. Later, after the planting and weeding and harvesting of crops, another miracle happens. Suddenly, purple plums hang from slender branches above the fence. You set baskets on the kitchen counter where we wash the fruit, cut each small plum in half, pit, and stew into syrup, pour wild-plum jelly into tiny jars. 

Two wonders wake heart
White blossoms burst into spring
Fall’s tart plum jelly

Kathryn MacDonald’s poetry has been published in literary journals in Canada, the U.S., England, and Ireland. Her poem “Seduction” was short-listed for the 2019 Freefall Poetry Contest. She is the author of A Breeze You Whisper (poems, 2011) and Calla & Édourd (fiction, 2009). Website: https://KathrynMacDonald.com

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