Dogwoods, photo and poem

photo of a dogwood branch
Dogwood Branch

I’ve always anticipated the bloom time of my dogwood, even after this easy winter. This tree that I dug up as a sapling in the woods on an old abandoned farm has grown full and graceful, blooming fervently in spring, shading the side of my house all through summer, showing its brilliant redness in fall with berries for the birds, and looking stark and lovely against the snow in winter.

One year as it bloomed I saw it at night, a hazy glowing shape, the light of spring that could not be extinguished even by darkness. Hence, this poem.

The dogwoods are blooming up and down my street.
The breaking of the cold,
The unusually warm, brilliant spring day
Has brought my neighbors out to wash cars and cut grass.
Like the returning birds
Their conversations drift and circle from yard to yard
And cross the street on capricious breezes;
We have been put away all winter
Like articles of summer clothing
Our potential at rest,
Yet now, even at night,
Pale, airy clouds of blossoms
Hover in the darkness all over the neighborhood.

©2005 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve never seen another dogwood like this one except out in the woods, which is where I found it. With friends, I was exploring an old abandoned farm that had been sold for development. A long row of blooming daffodil clumps lined the driveway, leading us to the spot where the house had been; only an open area was left, but it was surrounded by forsythia and roses and lilacs and Star of Bethlehem spilling around in the grass and many, many more plants which would have bloomed all through the growing season. Someone had loved growing things and so did we, so we took what we could to preserve their memory knowing they’d only be plowed under.

Off in the woods, irregular clouds of white blossoms lit the shadows along the trails, and we found lovely native dogwoods with the largest flowers I’ve ever seen, at least four inches across with lovely ridged petals and the characteristic divot at the end of each. What had been but a twig growing on a hillside in the woods is a full and fervent tree with white flowers in spring, dense green leaves all summer with bright red fruits in late summer and red-violet leaves in fall. Who could improve on that?


  1. Thank you for your post! I was telling Hubby just the other day about how every year when I see that first White Dogwood blooming around town, I always remember the first time I ever saw a dogwood…. we were hiking in the woods at Yosemite and came upon one in bloom on a wet spring day. It was the most beautiful tree that I had ever seen, the blooms shown like white stars in that green soaked woods.

    I wonder, how many people remember the first time they saw …. a particular flower bloom, a rare bird, a unique landscape? I am sure this will be the subject of a future blog post…. my brain is already writing it. (would it be okay if I pinged your post in reference when I do write that post?)

    Thanks again, Bernadette ♥

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