This poem is sort of my version of endemophilia, describing (as Albrecht defines it) “the particular love of the locally and regionally distinctive in the people of that place. It is similar to what Relph … called “existential insideness” or the deep, satisfying feeling of being truly at home with one’s place and culture.” You might want to check out Glenn Albrecht’s site for more detailed definitions and philosophical/psychological reasons for inventing names for such concepts.
My long-poem in Water-Rites, “The Valley, the Whitetail: A History,” probably fits the term endemophilia more closely than the poem I’ve posted below–which may one day appear in print if I can find a publisher for my next manuscript. But the long-poem is a little too long for a blog post.
[I have an idea: buy a copy of Water-Rites from Brick Road Poetry Press, and read it there!]
A mild day in February. Good chance
there’ll be more snow or ice. Walk slowly,
note the footprint of a hosta, dormant, or
the arrow-shaped deer hoof in hardened soil.
Look more closely for the ravages and burrows
of rodentia—woodchucks, voles and mice.
You may discover where squirrels have
hidden seeds or laid waste to crocus corms—
try to restrain your wrath. Decide
how best to counter such yearly looting;
strategy keeps the mind sharp. Grubs,
for instance, in your lawn—a different tack,
and this year you may succeed, and keep
the skunks from rooting through the grass.
Weigh, in your mind and pocketbook,
the relative costs of pesticide and herbicide.
It might be the year to go organic,
though there’s even odds the dandelions will thrive.
Ease your troubled breast from lawn woes.
Raise your eyes to forsythia, to witch-hazel,
observe critically the shrubs’ bare bones,
decide what needs the kindest cut,
find your saw and pruners, time to oil
and sharpen—your fingers itch—
but it’s a little soon. To assuage your
yearning, cut back the redtwig osier
so its new growth will flush crimson.
Consider forcing blooms indoors—
aren’t there soft, small swellings on
the slim wands of pussywillow?
When the next storm hits, dream of columbine
and narcissus. Get out your Horace, and wait.
© 2008 Ann E. Michael
Waiting, in the place I call home, for spring.