It’s spring *technically* here in South Dakota, though the west got buried in snow just a few days ago, and the sun hasn’t been too shiny in the east lately. Good thing we are sturdy, tough folk.
Still, though, we know it’s Spring. She does not make her entrance quietly.
When spring arrives, boy does she ARRIVE! Iris, hollyhock, lily, sedum, dianthus break through the loosening earth, and the birds! The birds Do. Not. Stop. I think Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” is every warbler, sparrow, and robin’s theme song right now.
To honor this most beautiful, life-affirming season, here are some of my favorite Spring poems. Enjoy!
The bird has come
to bring light to birth.
From every trill of his,
water is born.
And between water and light which unwind the air,
now the spring is inaugurated,
now the seed is aware of its own growing;
the root takes shape in the corolla,
at last the eyelids of the pollen open.
All this accomplished by a simple bird
from his perch on a green branch.
“Such Singing in the Wild Branches”
It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb
in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still
and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,
when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,
and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward
like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed
not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last
For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,
is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.
“Dear One Absent This Long While”
It has been so wet stones glaze in moss;
everything blooms coldly.
I expect you. I thought one night it was you
at the base of the drive, you at the foot of the stairs,
you in a shiver of light, but each time
leaves in wind revealed themselves,
the retreating shadow of a fox, daybreak.
We expect you, cat and I, bluebirds and I, the stove.
In May we dreamed of wreaths burning on bonfires
over which young men and women leapt.
June efforts quietly.
I’ve planted vegetables along each garden wall
so even if spring continues to disappoint
we can say at least the lettuce loved the rain.
I have new gloves and a new hoe.
I practice eulogies. He was a hawk
with white feathered legs. She had the quiet ribs
of a salamander crossing the old pony post road.
Yours is the name the leaves chatter
at the edge of the unrabbited woods.