Today I’d like to share a little haiku I wrote that was first published in The Texas Observerin 2015.
Naomi Shihab Nye, who chose the poem for publication, said about my work: “I love Carie Juettner’s understated twist of observational loveliness in this tiny poem. When people in other states ask, as they frequently do, ‘Why do you live in Texas?’ one could simply reply ‘For the flowers’ and be done with it.”
This comment from my favorite poet left me smiling ear-to-ear for several days. I still get a thrill each time I read it and think about her reading my words.
With a big thanks to Naomi and The Texas Observer for giving this haiku its first home, here is “Politics aside”:
Politics aside, wildflower season brings out the blue in Texas
Spring has sprung here in Austin, and the roads are decorated with our state flower. In honor of these brilliant blooms, I’d like to share my poem, “Wildflower Season.” This poem won first place in the Austin Poetry Society’s Mary Oliver Award in 2015 and is published in Best Austin Poetry 2014-2015.
Highways are bridges across red seas,
oceans of blue—
bodies of color that wave
when the wind blows.
Tourists in our own land, we wade
through ankle-high blooms, then venture deeper—
trying to capture something
that can’t be caught in a photo.
What we want to remember
is our moment of awe
when we crested that hill
and gasped at the painted landscape.
One bluebonnet looks just like the next
They are not zebra stripes, nor snowflakes.
Their power lies in the collective,
beauty in numbers.
Let’s put down our cameras,
keep our kids in the car,
stop stopping on the side of the road
to see the blanket turn to threads,
the ocean of blue become a dried up lake
of bald spots and litter.
Let’s just drive, look,
enjoy with our windows down.