Enlivening winter’s landscapes Whose snow and icy mists shroud grey tombs, Leave tables bare, and stop rushing rivers, Comes spring with fresh designs drawn with age-old plume. Spring’s first sketches seem earth-toned and modest: Skeleton drawings of green and brown twigs Among the lowing cattle’s bogged pastures On whose fenceposts yet hang a holly sprig.
And as early spring’s watery dawns break Over slushy ponds fringed with leafless trees— The long-held icicles melt drop-by drop, The soggy soils sprout mushroom colonies, And the craftsman with claw hammer and nails, Ruddy cheeks, long straight white beard, and clear eyes, Sets from his home to build a grape arbor: A springtime gift for his beloved wife—
As the sun shines on these longed-for changes (And others: plum trees with their nascent bloom, A promise of new fruit, elk waiting to calve The wondrous life that grows within their wombs), Spring avails herself of her soft pastels. Where wild ducks lay their creamy speckled eggs Amongst the tall reeds of moist, muddy marshes, Spring overpaints winter’s neutral-hued dregs,
And where banks were lately glazed with thin ice— And morning mist rose from the lake’s surface As bewitched smoke rises from a mirror— Spring washes the scene with lilac crocus, Canary yellows, and magnolia pinks. With different hues on each hair of her brush Spring lightens and colors sky, land, and beast, Rendering the cold, fallow land warm and lush.
This poem tells of four seasons, and of how we continue spinning on and on, through outer space.
It is written in free verse.
The Earth revolves, and seasons change.
Foliage turns red, brown, orange, and black.
Horses snort. Their breath rises.
Their hooves crunch through fresh snow.
Now the fawns are born.
They are brown, soft as butter, with white spots.
Their legs tremble.
In comes the sun. High overhead,
Its heat leaves the air shimmering.
At the amphitheater, a musician
Mops the sweat from his eyes,
Folds his cloth, and returns it
To his breast pocket. A crowd
Is sitting in the fresh green grass.
He puts the bow to his cello,
Turns to the band, and he calls,
“One more time around!”