Shade Garden Sonnet I

In loamy caves beneath the nod

of hosta elegans there flame

the topaz eyes of tawny gods

serene as Buddhas in their claim

of umbral garden sovereignty.

Feasts of worms and slugs conspire

to shield the toad from poverty,

though drought – occasional and dire –

may rob his skin of poisoned silk,

quench his eyes like burning moons,

reduce to bones as pale as milk

his girth, and wither his moist rooms

of questing root and trammeled leaf.

Even gods may come to grief.

e. yon 2002

This is one of a series of four Shade Garden Sonnets written some years ago and included in the chapbook Fruit & Bones.  The accompanying artwork is by Carolyn S. Pio, who illustrated the chapbook, and who is a marvelous watercolorist, as well.  See more of her work at