Poem-A-Day: Karen Paul Holmes

If you’ve been following this series this year, you’ll know that I missed a couple of days recently due to family events, and I’m trying to get caught up in a relaxed way that doesn’t inundate you with a bunch of posts all at once.

Seeing as it’s a weekend upon which various spring holidays are happening, the timing of which holidays has very much to do with the spring equinox and when the moon is full — if you want to know more about that, leave a comment and I’ll explain it — I thought a poem about planting would feel right, right about now.

This poem by Karen Paul Holmes first appeared in Still: The Journal and is also included in her book No Such Thing as Distance (Terrapin, 2018).

If You Plant a Bradford Pear

Plant five in a line
along a road in Georgia
against a February sky
with clouds melding into light.

Clusters of white flowers
will foretell spring, petals will fall
instead of snow.

Plant them against a blue sky,
a chest-gripping blue, where
the black-silver river brews rocks.

Where the trees present you
with autumn’s gamut—like these
on the shortcut to Jasper:
four Bradfords stippled
green, purple, bronze-red.
The fifth, a crimson upturned heart.

Every season they will sway
psalms for you, keep you mindful
of those who stood by you
in your blaze.


Karen Paul Holmes has two full-length poetry collections, No Such Thing as Distance (Terrapin, 2018) and Untying the Knot (Aldrich, 2014). She was chosen a Best Emerging Poet by Stay Thirsty Media and included in their 2019 poetry volume. Other publications include Prairie Schooner, Valparaiso Review, Tar River Poetry, Poet Lore, and many more.

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