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Monday, May 7, 2012


Here in Brooklyn, the weather can't seem to make up its mind about what season it is. Just when I get to put on my flip flops and remember to shave my legs, walking everywhere with an iced coffee in hand, the sky turns gray and I'm back in the house wearing sweaters again.
Spring is always a mixed-up season that can't decide if it wants to be sunny and flowery and pink, or gray and rainy and mossy. I happen to love both kinds of spring, and apparently so so a lot of other writers. Poets especially seem to latch onto something about the transience of the season. Here are some great spring poems, what are your favorites?

[in Just-]
by E.E. Cummings
in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it's
spring
and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee

Despite the somewhat creepy shadow-figure of the “goat-footed balloonman,” I think this is one of the most delicious spring poems, mostly because of the language. What is spring if not “mud-lucious” and “puddle-wonderfull”?

From “Two Tramps in Mud Time”
by Robert Frost
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And fronts the wind to unruffle a plume
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake: and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn’t blue,
But he wouldn’t advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheel rut’s now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don’t forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The perfect description of the tricks the weather plays this time of year. I love the idea of a bluebird advising the flowers on the best time to bloom.

Magnolia
by Lisel Mueller

This year spring and summer decided
to make it quick, roll themselves into one
season of three days
and steam right out of the winter.
In the front yard the reluctant
magnolia buds lost control
and suddenly stood wide open.
Two days later their pale pink silks
heaped up around the trunk
like cast-off petticoats.

Remember how long spring used to take?
And how long from the first locking of fingers
to the first real kiss?
And after that
the other eternity, endless motion
toward the undoing of a button?

I've been feeling this way a lot about the seasons in general, but especially Spring. They used to seem so endless! I love how Mueller uses spring as a metaphor to describe something more specific: the way intimacy, both in our perceptions and behaviors, also evolves as we get older. 


28 comments:

Vanessa Blake said...

My favorite is Spring Pools by Robert Frost!

Summer WURM said...

Beautiful!
<3 Spring!

Cliona said...

You think Brooklyn is bad? Try Ireland! LOL :) It's raining in Winter. And in Summer. And in Spring. And in Autumn! All the freaking time!!!

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