A Poem for the Spring Thaw

Lenten Rose

 

 

 

 

 

The world melts around me
as the sun caresses
the contours of my city.

A robin addresses
blue sky studded by
clouds hurrying past —

Don’t linger here! Fly! Fly! —
Do I spy a blade of grass?
Or is this mere flirtation?

A sly come hither glance?
Who cares? On this temptation
I’ll blithely take a chance.

 

Because it snowed 10 inches the other day, and I need this…

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A Light Exists in Spring
by Emily Dickinson

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.

Christopher Walken Reads The Raven

We’re enormous Christopher Walken fans in our house. My husband and son often (often) do impressions of him, even when ordering food in public (aside: zero students working at area fast food restaurants find this amusing). So when I heard this lovely reading, the perfect pairing of material and performer, I thought I’d like to share it with you.

Enjoy.

A Poem for Our Unseasonably Warm Weather

An Exchange

To tout the beauty of a brown December
I am not capable.

I, the bright side looker—
I, the silver lining finder—
Even I cannot sing
the snowless ground,
the naked trees,
the coughing leaves
still blowing down the road.

Winter without snow:
the bride without her train—
no gossamer veil,
just a sodden sheet of rain
to screen her ruined face
and balding pate
from jaded eyes
in want of ceremony
on these bleak days
of grays and gray-greens and gray-browns
that lean in on you from all around
to snuff out what light you might still carry,
which the snow would have reflected—
were it present—
and done much to make hearts merry
despite the early nights
of thin starlight
and thinner moon.

Sixty degrees
with a light breeze
and spring comes more to mind
than Christmastime
and yet not ten days stand
between now and then,
when cars are packed
with presents stacked
so recently beneath the tree
and gifts unwrapped with studied glee
become the things surreptitiously
exchanged for items more in keeping
with one’s style.

And so I pose the insolent question
that’s been floating round my head:
Can I return this brown month and get a white one instead?

To which God answers, after a beat:
Do you have a receipt?

Alison’s Poem and the East Lansing Poetry Attack

This past week I was pleased to open an email from the nice folks in charge of the East Lansing Poetry Attack that read in part, “Your poem Alison’s Poem is destined for a tree in East Lansing.” Readers of my old blog may have seen this before, but I couldn’t find it anywhere here at A Beautiful Fiction, so I’ll share it now. I wrote “Alison’s Poem”  on the morning of my sister Alison’s March 24th birthday a few years back. Older than me by less than two years, Alison is the firstborn of the family, but not the first conceived. I was thinking about how my mother must have felt to see her after a miscarriage during her first pregnancy, and so I wrote this…

Alison’s Poem

Clear dawn over the snow-dusted lawn
Deep gray gives way to a subtle ray
Then bright and vibrant hues chase the night
Sweet pink, then yellow—orange—green, I think
So fades cold evening to the next day
So things of winter melt into spring

The poem will be displayed this Sunday, April 26th, at 1-4 PM in the trees in front of the East Lansing Public Library as part of the 3rd Annual East Lansing Poetry Attack. Some of the poems will later be moved to city hall and displayed during the East Lansing Art Fair, May 16-18. More details on their Facebook page.

What Man Has Made of Man

Lines Written in Early Spring
by William Wordsworth

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Writing for Our Better Selves

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These are the first lines of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, a poem in nine books which was particularly beloved of Emily Dickinson. I’m just diving in to my copy, an 1884 printing of the 1859 text. This quote strikes me, a professional copywriter who is ever writing for others, as a lovely, selfish thought. That is what my fiction is–writing for me, for my better self.

Roses, Roses Everywhere

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My roses are mostly pink…

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…but why miss an opportunity to share some lovely Robert Burns with you?

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O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
   That’s sweetly played in tune.

 

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So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
   So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
   Till a’ the seas gang dry.

 

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Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
   While the sands o’ life shall run.

 

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And fare thee weel, my only luve!
   And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
   Though it were ten thousand mile.

 

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One Morning In March

Spring is a time for poetry. And so I share with you what I wrote this morning.

One Morning in March

It is March,
still winter,
and the white sky
seeks to remind us of it,
hunching low over the bare treetops
like a fog.

Yet this day we recall
that we did not
settle upon a glacier
or the icy moon Europa,
but upon earth.

Grass,
brown and bored,
peeks from beneath
the serrated grimaces of soiled snowbanks,
so reluctant to give any ground
to spring.

Traffic lanes and parking spots
we had forgotten
grow at the margins of this white world
like the black beaches of some volcanic island
still forming.

The wreckage
of the ice storm emerges
like an ancient ruined metropolis.
Oh, yes, we say,
I remember that storm.
Only the snow made me forget.

I pick up the keys
I dropped in the driveway—
the first dirt
to work its way under my fingernails
since November.

Inside
the dog’s muddy prints
on the kitchen floor
don’t raise my ire.
I don’t sigh and say, “Sasha!”
as I might have.

We shake ourselves awake
at the birds.
Birds.
That’s right, we say
in wonder.
There are birds.

Frost on the Thaw

I know that our glorious three-day warm up is done and freezing temps are back, but the incredible wind today puts me in mind of this hopeful poem from Robert Frost…

To the Thawing Wind

Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snow-bank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate’er you do to-night,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit’s crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o’er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.

My new writing goal is to finish the first draft by the first day of spring, March 20th. Think of it–we are just one month away from the equinox. Not that will mean anything for the weather…