Poetry: The Woods in May Are This Still by Leland Seese

The implied sterility of a hospital bed; communication through a tablet; processing death in a sterile environment. These experiences during hospice care are contrasted beautifully with changing seasons in Leland Seese’s poem. The silence of the words a fatherly specter could not say are eclipsed by nature.

The Woods in May Are This Still

Currant leaves unfurl, delicate, grasshopper green. Pinkish blossoms,
muted trumpet notes, that make me stop and weep.

Through morning mist, impossible, my father walks toward me.
Twenty years ago he died from ALS.

Near the end, his index fingertip was all he had to talk with,
pressing little buttons to signal Yes and No. Fix my pillow.

All my life, I hoped he’d find the courage, even if it had to be a button,
to say to me I love you.

A flock of kinglets flits into the branches of the currant, hopping
branch to branch, hanging upside-down. For one brief moment,

shorter than the time it takes to press a button,
they stay completely still and listen to the trumpet notes.

Leland Seese

Leland Seese is a third-generation Seattleite, graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, and devotee of the poet-monk Thomas Merton. His debut chapbook, "Wherever This All Ends", was released in 2020 (Kelsay Books). His poems can be found in RHINO, The Chestnut Review, The Stonecoast Review, and many other journals.

Close Menu