Julia Ponder

Three Poems – Julia Ponder


There is an old oak
that reaches up beyond
my window into the sky.
I watch as leaves burst
and filter the light that
trickles in
to match its leaves.
I marvel at its size.

Everything is green.
Even the old beige Toyota that
sits at the end of the driveway
begins to collect debris and soon
patches of moss invade and cover
the rusting steel hood.

I am small.
The shade of the oak tree
creates shapes on my hands.
On summer days, I collect
leaves, stone, and twigs
from around the base. I build a house
for a caterpillar, small like me
in this endless yard
crawling with life.

When my mother is feeling well
we plant sage, cosmos,
Zinnias, and sunflowers.
“Pollinators,” she tells me,
singing Crosby Stills & Nash.

My father squats low
a cigarette hanging out of
his grinning mouth.
My sister and I watch
as he half buries beer cans
along rows of green beans
and corn.
“For the slugs,” he says.
My mother giggles.

Along the white siding
of the house,
facing the east,
grows English Ivy.
Green slips to cover everything
The neighbors wage
a war against it on
their lake beaches
across the street.

Summer is always best,
living becomes effortless.
Even as I grow older,
I still fall asleep in the
grass, using my book
or journal to hide my
face from the sun.

I slip into these worlds
From my dreams
A million years away,
on google earth images,
milkweed and rogue saplings
crowd the ever-shrinking

My sister paints oil on canvas,
dark swirling trees surrounding
shimmering water; leaves,
triangles of green, and a patchwork of
chain link fence that keeps it all in and us out.

Not pictured on google earth:
Yellow caution tape that says,
“Dangerous, hazard, enter
at own risk.”
I take comfort in knowing
the green will slip in



The apple blossoms are starting to fall.
A June wind will pick up a bit,
and soon the air will become
filled with bright white petals.

Yes, life is delicate,
but so is freedom.

A loud sterling tells its friends that
I am here. They protect their
young by speaking to one another,
by carrying a song.

I do not know yet what it means to be a mother—
When the time comes, I hope the choice is mine.


Transplanted Wildflower

I was trapped by the soil,
moist and forgiving,
full of pregnant worms that
fed on my goodwill,

till the day came when
stainless steel pierced the ground
and tore me up to
be replanted somewhere else.

But the roots did not take.
It should have been a freedom
to me, this new place
among happy daisies and dahlias.

Each friend, fine and manicured,
was trapped in sparkling mulch.
No longer wild,
no longer needing to toil to survive,
all nutrients provided.

But I thought too much,
laughed at the wrong times,
and frowned when the others
were filled with joy.

In this new garden, my leaves burned
and when I questioned my place,
I was marked as an interloper who
drew away from the sun.

I was found wanting,
alone surrounded by
so many tamed stems,

chained by the roots
to the silent and tilted masses
who could not remember
the wild. A dilemma still hangs in the
air, wither, or conform.


Julia Ponder is a writer, poet, and English teacher living in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in the Dillydoun Review, THAT Magazine, Susquehanna Review, Shawangunk Review, Chronogram, 805Lit, Stonesthrow Review, Sonder Review, and Cape Rock. Her poetry collection, Quantum Ghosts, is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press.

4 thoughts on “Three Poems – Julia Ponder”

  1. The final lines of CHOICE are so beautifully revelatory. The other two are also suffused with the beauty of nature as well as relatable, wonderfully juxtaposed human actions. Your poems gave me such joy.

  2. Transplanted Wildflower , reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel sounds of silence.
    “ restless dreams I walked alone
    Narrow streets of cobblestone”
    “ people talking without speaking
    People hearing without listening”
    But my words like Silent raindrops fell in the code in the wells of silence”
    “ but the roots did not take, it should have been freedom to me.“
    “ but I thought too much
    Laughed at the wrong times
    Frowned when others were filled with joy”
    Sad and beautiful at the same time.
    Empowering if you let it move you…

  3. Meant to say ,“ My words like silent raindrops fell , and echod in the wells of silence”. I couldn’t edit the comment after it was posted.

  4. All the poems have a meditative and contemplative mood that lets one sink into the imaginations. The nascent quality of “Green” stimulates one to reminisce—times gone by, held by nature’s embrace. Yet, beyond the surface, something else stirs—self reflection, world-reflection, time/eternity. The details speak of the unspoken. In “Choice” the lines that struck me were “Yes, life is delicate,/ but so is freedom.” And in “Transplanted” I am moved to think how we all wilt a little bit when we are transplanted into a new situation. Love all the poems.

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