Two Poems by Terry W. Ford


Early May.
Morning in the forest.

“Leave the basket in the car;
put on tennis shoes.
Those sandals are no good
for walking in the woods.”

You held my hand;
we kicked through last year’s leaves.

Spring peepers chorused
from the edges of the lake.

Mist in the ravines still hung
in layers
between new-leaved dogwood branches.

Late snowdrops nodded as we passed.

You stopped to ask about the trillium
with its repeating lanceolate shapes:
three leaves and triple sepals,
topped by triune petals—showy, white,
streaked in the lightest shade
of watercolor purple.

“Let me pick one for you.”

My mother’s
wives’ tale answered
through my lips:

“No, if you take the flowers,
the plant will die.”

You plucked it nonetheless.


In his poems, if not in ordinary life,
Dante sought out Beatrice,
followed her to paradise,
and made her name eternal.

By the strength of his song
—at least for a while—
Orpheus revived Eurydice.

The painful green of every spring
cries out that annually
Ceres still brings Persephone

I am powerless.
You do not return.

My poems do not conjure you.
I cannot sing you back.

Terry W. Ford is now semi-retired from four decades of full-time teaching for Kent State University at Stark. A longtime supporter of Ohio and Midwest writing, she was a perennial organizer and grant writer for the Midwest Writer’s Conference. Now teaching only a few classes, she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, and grandmothering.