When Dogwoods Bloom

When Dogwoods Bloom
for the Arkansas Folk Festival

On Mountain View’s courtsquare this past weekend,
a fiddler sat and played a song of choice.
He tapped his foot in rhythm to pretend,
once more, that he could hear his darling’s voice.
Oh, hold me close before you must depart,
she whispered in the autumn mountain air.
Though drums of war beat louder than his heart,
he made a promise on that old courtsquare.



He said he would return when dogwoods bloom,
then marched to rhythm of his country’s call
and often felt that he would meet his doom
but he returned a hero that next fall.
The dogwood blooms had fallen off and died
and buried there beneath them lay his bride.

The man who tapped his foot would try to smile
each time he moved his bow to make a tune.
He watched the couples dressed in Ozark style
as feet would dance in springtime afternoon.
The sight of dogwood blooms, the music flow,
the tangy taste of sugared lemonade—
oh memories, how bittersweet they grow
as wagons roll to start the grand parade.
His country’s flag waves highest on this day.
He shuts his eyes and no one else can see
the tears that never fully wash away
his deepest hurt, his pride, his loyalty.
The dogwood blooms had fallen off and died
and buried there beneath them lay his bride.

(These are the first two stanzas of a longer poem)

© 2014 Freeda Baker Nichols


6 comments on “When Dogwoods Bloom

  1. dotlatjohn says:

    Even though it’s sad, I like the irony that he survived war but came home to find that being i in spite of being safe at home, she died.


  2. Ginger Kemp Pruett says:

    A little sad this time, but tells the story.


  3. so beautiful…and emotional …


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