Contemplations on Spring and Death
The winter made you crystal white and clear,
Transparent ‘neath the sparkling streams of light
That shattered open silent sleep and frost
That covered eyes like ice nymphs poised to strike.
The Spring will treat you kinder: make you laugh
And wake the silent stupor of past months;
Will spread its warmth across your glistened skin,
Grown cold from snowy nights. Spring welcomes you
With bows and songs of mirth to sing you home—
Come home to grounds you never knew before,
Come home to chocolate clumps of earth. The Spring
Is one violent wash of color in your arms,
Spread far apart like open fields of blooms.
Color covers like the scent of rain. Blossoms
Now strike the sky like children’s vibrant kites
Or like a prong that calls concertos, light
And warm, to play their gleeful songs of Spring.
Now, when you sleep, with dark eyes closed against
The temperate hold of rain-stained earth, the sweet
Lavender scent will fill your empty lungs.
Worries are portable,
But death never moves:
Death doesn’t choose
To gain or to lose
Or to be adorable.
Worries are portable:
They sting and accuse
And then, like a noose,
They leave you to choose,
But each choice is deplorable.
So give me some land:
A plot would be fine.
To call some grass mine,
To not be confined
By some immovable hand;
Just offer me land.
To cross over no line
And fill all my time
With sky, cloud, and rhyme.
Would make life more grand.
Years ran away,
But I’ll lie, like a queen,
With the grasses all green
An emerald sheen;
I’ll dance in the day—
The calm and the fray
Alike are a dream.
On branches I lean,
Embracing the gleam
Of glorious day.
The winter lay dead…
No—living a lie.
Though nobody died,
They gave no reply
To new blooms, all red,
To grass laid like beds,
To Spring’s brilliant cry!
They, like those who die,
Only echoed goodbyes
When Spring sang instead.
Spring casts down her rose,
Her brilliant cascade
Of promises made—
She promises Day!
She stands in the throes
Of a glorious repose
And offers a shade
And a cool place to lay.
She offers to say
What the Spring alone knows.
So lay your hand down,
Down soft on the earth.
Let Spring mean Rebirth,
A Renaissance mirth.
Awaken to sounds
That lie below ground.
Do not fear its grand girth
(An actual dearth).
You know not the worth
‘Til it has been found.
I feel your breath blow soft against my arms;
It carries all the scent of lavender
And roses. I, a quiet bystander,
Soak in all your golden breath and charms.
My arms, outstretched, were shaking far too long—
They shook beneath the mighty weight of ice
And the twirling winter that cannot entice,
Not half as much as your dear, sacred throng.
“Remember not the cold,” you, breathless, say;
“Recall all blue and red and gold of Spring—
Recall all voiceless shades that mildly lay
Upon the softest grasses; and so you
Might lie amidst your burdens, you might fling
Them all about you in my grand debut.”
Lie upon my shoulders;
Release your ancient boulder.
Your head is burdened so
And lays your body low.
But my shoulder’s firm and sun-kissed,
And my shoulder hates to be dismissed.
These arms have born a thousand griefs:
A thousand ancient tears from penitent priests,
A thousand tears to grant a new relief
To a poor lady doubting her belief.
So lie in their good company
And quit your penchant for blasphemy.
Lay your clothes and worry at my feet
And jump into the river—jump waist deep.
Lie upon my grasses in the shade,
Lie within my open fields and glades,
Swim within my crystal sky and sun—
The blissful time of Spring has now begun.
You closed your eyes to kiss the budding sod;
The dirt just sighed to draw you to its breast,
To welcome you, to say that you are best,
And send you on your merry way to God.
No cherubs song, no great angelic laud
Could sing the songs of one sigh from that chest,
That dark expanse that beckons you to rest—
You the lamb, and it the shepherd’s rod.
You step upon the ground with angel’s feet
To hear the gentle voices of the earth—
An, in the space where sun and warm land meet,
Song shelters you and calls you to new birth.
And when your eyes are filled with a spring rose,
You’ll know what only each new flower knows.
To get to warmer air,
One only has to cross the violent River.
From the edges, the Jordan calls,
The water cold and swift,
Ready to fight you all along the way.
It thrusts ahead,
To fire off a dozen waves to swallow you.
A thousand men were grieved this way—
At this crossing,
Many a valiant men died—
Men who had fought
Their grand goliaths,
Had chased the wicked from their lands,
Had grabbed the devil by his cloven hand
And barely stopped to blink.
But swift and
The River washed their future down the current
And so dissolved their histories.
But if you want warm air,
Here is the only place to find it.
Here you are—
It opens wide to you,
Calls to you,
Beckons in soft, dulcet syllables.
But the dissonant clash of the Jordan cries out
Her discontented warning—
And again her swift waters threaten.
Do not fight her, oh you valiant men.
Do not threaten her with your demon swords.
Do not rear against her,
For she rears back with waters gray and black,
And she does not lose.
Lay quietly, and cross in stillness and grace.
Lay a hand against her wind-swept face.
Lay your body down in her
And let her dissolve
Your valiant spirit and violent histories
Along with your tomorrows.
That is how to find the warmer air.