Spring, Already


It always takes me by surprise,
the way one must have regarded
heraldry at the beginning of a procession or battle,
even if you have watched all night,
over the rise the bright flags quicken,
as do the plum trees in the median,
near the fast food joints, bursting into bloom,
or the one lone branch
springing like a Phoenix from
the gnarled old stump near the offices
of our local newspaper.

I fear spring will go the way
of small town chronicles,
that it could one day die out or simply not come.

But despite the machinations of humans it will,
snowdrops will cluster like girls in the schoolyard,
daffodils, church bells for beetles, will chime,
the inverted exclamations of tulips,
as in Spanish, will precipitate and
punctuate the warmth to come.

Spring is always an exercise in receiving.
Perhaps I don’t feel deserving
having done nothing to stoke it,
I have not plumped humus
or shoveled trainloads of matter
into some deep internal furnace.
I have not held classes to teach birdsong.

It should be like the Olympic games
or presidential elections or leap year,
every four years instead of each,
that we might remember it
like Halley's comet sighting when we were young
and our parents took blankets to the park
so we could watch the sky.

I feel this way about the moon sometimes,
the lamp is lit again?!
or when two of my children were born
closer together than the others
and I tandem nursed them both in the night,
inhaling one downy head and then the other.

Like party guests who arrive early,
spring always comes when I still haven’t put my
Christmas decorations in the attic,
when I haven’t yet labeled the seeds
I gathered last September,
and yet here I am fingering bright cloth in my closet,
trading leather boots for skimming flats,
outer gestures as I try and catch up, reflecting,
hoping I have used this past year well,
pulled stones from soul soil and tilled heart beds.

I could end this poem two ways-
the first, a prayer that we may be worthy
of such abundance once more,
the second, a knowingness
that we must,
for life swells
around us, yet again.