By Amber | April 15, 2010
I am wrapped in thunder and delight, watching the flickering lightning, entranced at the window like a child on her birthday morning. Thunderstorms mean many things to me, but at this fine moment the rumble is repeating only one phrase: Wake up! Spring is coming! Spring is here!
The springtime approaches, heralded by these buffeting rain and winds. It’s grand entrance is lauded by the territorial songbirds and the low hum of working bees. I heard springtime itself, just the other morning, proudly crowing from the throat of a nearby rooster.
Spring is the time of year to encourage reckless hopes and wild fantasies, and yet prepare to have them dashed by the thaw and flood of March and April. It is time to crave the senses of summer while it is still romantic: bonfires under the forest canopy, the crisp palate of fresh foods pulled from the soil, and the ecstasy of sun-warmed bare shoulders.
But for now, while we are still shivering at city crosswalks in our hoodies with damp sneakers, it is time now to enjoy the emergence of this season and to appreciate it through the intense prism of poetry, from ancient to modern, sensible to strange.
Each author’s name is a link to their current listings on Biblio.com
It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.
When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.
The Music We Are
Did you hear that winter’s over? The basil
and the carnations cannot control their
laughter. The nightingale, back from his
wandering, has been made singing master
over the birds. The trees reach out their
congratulations. The soul goes dancing
through the king’s doorway. Anemones blush
because they have seen the rose naked.
Spring, the only fair judge, walks in the
courtroom, and several December thieves steal
away, Last year’s miracles will soon be
forgotten. New creatures whirl in from non-
existence, galaxies scattered around their
feet. Have you met them? Do you hear the
bud of Jesus crooning in the cradle? A single
narcissus flower has been appointed Inspector
of Kingdoms. A feast is set. Listen: the
wind is pouring wine! Love used to hide
inside images: no more! The orchard hangs
out its lanterns. The dead come stumbling by
in shrouds. Nothing can stay bound or be
imprisoned. You say, “End this poem here,
and wait for what’s next.” I will. Poems
are rough notations for the music we are.
Jalal ad-Din Mu?ammad Rumi (1207-1273)
These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers
beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods -
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
These, I, Singing in Spring
THESE, I, singing in spring, collect for lovers,
(For who but I should understand lovers, and all their sorrow and joy?
And who but I should be the poet of comrades?)
Collecting, I traverse the garden, the world—but soon I pass the gates,
Now along the pond-side—now wading in a little, fearing not the wet,
Now by the post-and-rail fences, where the old stones thrown there, pick’d from the
(Wild-flowers and vines and weeds come up through the stones, and partly cover
these I pass,)
Far, far in the forest, before I think where I go,
Solitary, smelling the earthy smell, stopping now and then in the silence,
Alone I had thought—yet soon a troop gathers around me,
Some walk by my side, and some behind, and some embrace my arms or neck,
They, the spirits of dear friends, dead or alive—thicker they come, a great crowd,
Collecting, dispensing, singing in spring, there I wander with them,
Plucking something for tokens—tossing toward whoever is near me;
Here! lilac, with a branch of pine,
Here, out of my pocket, some moss which I pull’d off a live-oak in Florida, as it
Here, some pinks and laurel leaves, and a handful of sage,
And here what I now draw from the water, wading in the pondside,
(O here I last saw him that tenderly loves me—and returns again, never to separate
And this, O this shall henceforth be the token of comrades—this Calamus-root shall,
Interchange it, youths, with each other! Let none render it back!)
And twigs of maple, and a bunch of wild orange, and chestnut,
And stems of currants, and plum-blows, and the aromatic cedar:
These, I, compass’d around by a thick cloud of spirits,
Wandering, point to, or touch as I pass, or throw them loosely from me,
Indicating to each one what he shall have—giving something to each;
But what I drew from the water by the pond-side, that I reserve,
I will give of it—but only to them that love, as I myself am capable of loving.