Published on Academy of American Poets (

Mud Season

We unstave the winter’s tangle.
Sad tomatoes, sullen sky.

We unplay the summer’s blight.
Rotted on the vine, black fruit

swings free of strings that bound it.
In the compost, ghost melon; in the fields

grotesque extruded peppers.
We prod half-thawed mucky things. 

In the sky, starlings eddying.
Tomorrow, snow again, old silence.

Today, the creaking icy puller.
Last night I woke

to wild unfrozen prattle.
Rain on the roof—a foreign liquid tongue.


Copyright © 2016 Tess Taylor. Used with permission of the author. 

About this Poem

“A few years back I had the chance to move out of Brooklyn and live in Amy Clampitt’s former home in the Berkshires for a full year. We moved in January, and the snow and the freeze were thick. One of the great surprises of getting to live in a rural area and watch its minute changes was the sheer noisy force of spring. The intense cracking and water noises during the first thaws, and the actually unsettlingly loud clatter of the first rain—all of this reminded me that spring has another deep meaning of ‘gush’ or ‘flow.’ By the time this poem was written, I was also working on a nearby farm a few days a week. I hope that the poem, and the book, actually, get at the bodily pleasure, but also the strangeness, of being so close to both the season and the work.”
—Tess Taylor


Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the author of Work & Days (Red Hen Press, 2016) and The Forage House (Red Hen Press, 2013).

Date Published: 2016-01-25

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