Spring on Chestnut Top by Sarah Cummins Small

I long to lie
in the thick apple moss,
hemmed in by doghobble,
leafy liverwort at my feet,
lichen like a lacy pillow under my head,
covered by a canopy of sugar
maple and red buckeye,
butterfly ghosts of beech leaves
fluttering above.

If I were very, very quiet,
would I bear witness
to the resurrection fern’s curls
Could I hear the fiddlehead
slowly unfurling
and the bloodroot whispering:
It’s time! It’s time!

Would I see fire pink
blink open beneath the ledge,
standing guard like a good shepherd
over its flock of seersucker sedge
and sweet white trillium?

The winter wren whistles its welcome:
Awaken, Awaken!
It shakes and scampers from log to leaf,
leaf to log,
a trembling, ecstatic greeter.


Sarah lives in East Tennessee, close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where she loves to hike with her husband, who is a botanist. She holds an MA in creative writing from Iowa State University. She has taught creative writing, literature, and composition for over 20 years, most recently at Maryville College. Her poetry has been published in several literary magazines and anthologies. She is currently a caregiver for her nonagenarian parents.


**Featured image of fiddlehead fern by Gary Peeples, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region – Wikimedia


  1. Great poem! It gave me a longing to lie in thick apple moss.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your kind words.

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