Houston springs are tender. There’s just no other word for them. Soft days and soft nights. Coming brutal humidity and heat remain last summer’s dream. I think I become emotional and tender myself because I know what’s around the corner. But for now, it’s spring. Pink tulip trees and redbuds have been the first to announce blooming time. The sweet color of their blossoms is impossible to describe: amethyst in which rose had been swirled. Azaleas and bridal wreath follow. Trees bud and leaf, and in a month Houston will be a cloud of green from the sky.  Here’s what Houston’s soft spring does to me:

gardeners are busybodies

always peering out their windows

at the roses to demand:

have they bloomed yet?


cream edged in coral

I steal indescriminately

my neighbor’s roses


magnolia blossoms

open tight buds to reveal

deep creamy faces


what do butterflies

think when they race? does it

matter who wins?


5 responses to “Tender

  1. Hi Karleen,

    I am working on my first novel and have hit somewhat of a brick wall with my research.

    The story begins in 17th century France and focuses on the life of a peasant farmer. There is a plethora of information about nobility and royalty in that period but not so much about peasant life. In your research did you come across any books, websites or people that might have that sort of information?

    If so I would soooooo appreciate if you could point me in that direction. You can contact me via email.

    I’m also a freelance writer and have written and am writing for many of the same publications as you!

    Anyway, I’m sure you know what it’s like to encounter research hurdles for your books…frustrating!

  2. Oh! And I should add that I especially love this post. Today is a SCORCHER in Houston!!! My preschooler and toddler were saying “Hot! Hot!” when we got back into the car from the library.

  3. Amanda,

    There is a series of books called A History of Private Life. There is also a book called The Structures of Everyday Life. There is the series called The Story of Civilization. More specifically, there is a book called The Ancien Regime, by C.B.A. Behrens.

    What I do is: read something, say a biography, then look at the sources at the back and make note of those which might serve me as a writer and go directly to those books.

    I also use university libraries, which have many more books than a public library, and books that delve deep into subjects. One has to be a part of the library’s Friends to check books out, but I find the price worth it.

    University librarians would be a wonderful resource as to research, showing you what’s there in a specific library, but also what is in their databases for other libraries.

    Web sources are going to tend to be broad and surface, not as deep, though you can follow a trail to interesting material.

    I hope this helps, Karleen.

  4. SO helpful! Thank you so much this is exactly what I needed. I really appreciate the time you took to reply. Have a great day! The weather is a little cooler today so we’d better enjoy it 🙂

  5. Pingback: hope | Karleen Koen — writing life

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