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spring

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Here is a romantic poem by Sara Teasdale.

SPRING RAIN

I thought I had forgotten,
But it all came back again
Tonight with the first spring thunder
In a rush of rain.

I remembered a darkened doorway
Where we stood while the storm swept by,
Thunder gripping the earth
And lightning scrawled on the sky.

The passing motor busses swayed,
For the street was a river of rain,
Lashed into little golden waves
In the lamp light’s stain.

With that wild spring rain and thunder
My heart was wild and gay;
Your eyes said more to me that night
Than your lips would ever say.

I thought I had forgotten,
But it all came back again
Tonight with the first spring thunder
In a rush of rain.

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“Spring” in Maine takes its time

The calendar tells us it’s spring, but in Maine we still have a lot of snow lying around. Some snowdrops and crocus have made a brave appearance. As the earth awakens, here is a poem that is not about spring. Spring poems will follow in the coming weeks.

THE SCIENCES SING A LULLABY

PHYSICS SAYS: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

GEOLOGY SAYS: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

ASTRONOMY SAYS: the sun will rise tomorrow.
ZOOLOGY SAYS: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle.
PSYCHOLOGY SAYS: but first it has to be night, so
BIOLOGY SAYS: the body-clocks are stopped all over town and
HISTORY SAYS: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.

Albert Goldbarth

Finally – spring in New England, and National Poetry Month

daffodils_04

April is always full of poetry events. This year is no exception. I try to list all the ones involving Moon Pie Press poets on the website at http://www.moonpiepress.com. Here is a lovely poem about what sustains some of us through a long winter. It is by former Portland Poet Laureate Bruce Spang, whose latest book from Moon Pie Press is BOY AT THE SCREEN DOOR.

THE COLOR OF FAITH

Minus fifteen degrees, even the thermometer on the deck
recoils under its lid. Like a man with a Bible in a bombed out building,

I unearth a Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog
in the mail. Fields of Allstar Gourmet Lettuce,

mottled rows of purple and green, spread
beneath bare feet of a girl who slices one head

after another like the Queen in Wonderland.
I twist the space heater dial to high and flip

to Amaranthus, with its ropes of deep red,
fold the page; find a new Echinacea, Pallida

with long slender purple petals, fold it.
Colors splash on my lap, yellow tomatoes,

blue aster, pink poppies, and on page
sixty-eight, skins of peppers glistening

as brightly as the snow did this afternoon,
yet sliced open like hearts. Look, there is

Joe Pye Weed that releases a vanilla scent.
Smell it. Write it. Fill in the order form.

Hope is the thing with feathers

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yellow bird on flowering branch

Spring has finally burst out in New England, weeks later than usual. The lilacs are blooming and their scent is everywhere. My white azalea is flowering and the peonies are budding. Here is a poem by Stephen Scaer that my mother sent me recently, a cleverly rhymed take on the “romance” of birdsong.

TO AN EARLY BIRD, MID-JUNE

To-we, To-woo, To-woe! Must you sing
so early, bird? Can these announcements wait
until a better time: say, half-past eight?
You don’t think this cacophony will bring
a friend who’ll share her nest so late in spring?
April’s the month to serenade a mate,
and at the latest, May. Accept your fate:
This summer you’re alone. And please don’t cling
to adolescent hopes these clamorous,
brooding lays could win a hen.
Sincerity won’t make her amorous
this close to fall. It’s hard to come to terms
with passing time. You might see spring again.
But let’s talk after breakfast. Go find worms.

copyright 2014 by Stephen Scaer – from The National Review

Fickle New England spring – and reading

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books crucial

cats in rain

It’s a cliché to say that if you don’t like the weather in New England, wait 15 minutes (I believe this is attributed to Mark Twain), but there’s a lot of truth to it. I set out this afternoon in sun to walk my dog. We got about 10 minutes away from the house and the sky grew black and a tremendous stinging hailstorm swept in. We sheltered the best we could under a pine tree, but got bombarded and soaked. Poor Zoe was scared. A kind neighbor came along in his pickup and offered us a ride home, and didn’t mind a very wet dog in the cab.

I estimate that we’re three weeks behind normal blooming and blossoming times this year. Finally the forsythia, daffodils and tulips are blooming, but it’s May, not April. Now the hail has stopped and it’s raining. Nothing to do but stay inside, have a cup of tea and dive into a book. Sometimes the weather conspires with bibliophiles.

Spring – saying YES to the world

cat and chicks

April abounds with poetry events and it is hard to choose which ones to go to. Yesterday I went to the 12th annual Plunkett Poetry Festival at UMaine-Augusta, always a fun opportunity to hear a lot of Maine poets. Spring has finally come to southern Maine and we are all delirious. Lowe’s opened its garden section and people wearing shorts and Tshirts were madly buying pansies, MiracleGro and all kinds of things they can’t really use or plant until Memorial Day. This is Easter week coming up and here’s a photo of a cat with some chicks. I saw my friend Bruce’s new chicks yesterday, including some bantams – beautiful birds. His yard is full of intensely yellow and purple crocuses. Renewal, rebirth, warmth, blossom. Here is a poem I love about saying YES to the world.

Yes

It’s like a tap-dance
Or a new pink dress,
A shit-naïve feeling
Saying Yes.

Some say Good morning
Some say God bless –
Some say Possibly
Some say Yes.

Some say Never
Some say Unless
It’s stupid and lovely
To rush into Yes.

What can it mean ?
It’s just like life,
One thing to you
One to your wife.

Some go local
Some go express
Some can’t wait
To answer Yes.

Some complain
Of strain and stress
The answer may be
No for Yes.

Some like failure
Some like success
Some like Yes Yes
Yes Yes Yes.

Open your eyes,
Dream but don’t guess.
Your biggest surprise
Comes after Yes.

Muriel Rukeyser