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Today

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,

so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

 

that it made you want to throw

open all the windows in the house

 

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,

indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

 

a day when the cool brick paths

and the garden bursting with peonies

 

seemed so etched in sunlight

that you felt like taking

 

a hammer to the glass paperweight

on the living room end table,

 

releasing the inhabitants

from their snow-covered cottage

 

so they could walk out,

holding hands and squinting

 

into this larger dome of blue and white,

well, today is just that kind of day.

 

                                        ~ Billy Collins, born on this day in 1941

 

“A Spring Day” by Friedrich Kallmorgen, 1887

Though the crocuses poke up their heads in the usual places,

The frog scum appear on the pond with the same froth of green,

And boys moon at girls with last year’s fatuous faces,

I never am bored, however familiar the scene.

 

When from under the barn the cat brings a similar litter,

Two yellow and black, and one that looks in between,

Though it all happened before, I cannot grow bitter:

I rejoice in the spring, as though no spring ever had been.

 

                                                                          ~ Theodore Roethke

 

“Joys of Spring” by René Lelong, circa 1890 to 1900

Writers

Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom, but they dare to go it alone.

~ John Updike, born on this day in 1932

 

Félix Vallotton, 1904

 

Mid-March

It is too early for white boughs, too late

For snows.  From out the hedge the wind lets fall

A few last flakes, ragged and delicate.

Down the stripped roads the maples start their small,

Soft, ’wildering fires.  Stained are the meadow stalks

A rich and deepening red.  The willow tree

Is woolly.  In deserted garden-walks

The lean bush crouching hints old royalty,

Feels some June stir in the sharp air and knows

Soon ’twill leap up and show the world a rose.

 

The days go out with shouting; nights are loud;

Wild, warring shapes the wood lifts in the cold;

The moon’s a sword of keen, barbaric gold,

Plunged to the hilt into a pitch black cloud.

 

                                            ~ Lizette Woodworth Reese

 

“Blumenstauden im Wannseegarten” by Max Liebermann, 1919

In Time

As far as clocks—and it is time to think of them—

I have one on my kitchen shelf and it is

flat, with a machine-made flair, a perfect

machine from 1948, at the latest,

and made of shining plastic with the numbers

sharp and clear and slightly magnified in

that heartbreaking post-war style, the cord

too short, though what does it matter, since the mechanism

is broken and it sits unplugged alongside a

cheap ceramic rooster, his head insanely

small and yet his tiny brain alert for

he is the one who will crow and not that broken

buzzing relic, though time is different now

and dawn is different too, you were up all night

and it is dark when he crows and you are waiting

to see what direction you should face and if

you were born in time or was it wasted and what

the day looks like and is the rooster loyal.

 

                                                          ~ Gerald Stern

 

Posted in celebration of Daylight Saving Time and long, sunlit evenings.

 

Spencer Gore

Tulips

The tulips make me want to paint,

Something about the way they drop

Their petals on the tabletop

And do not wilt so much as faint,

 

Something about their burnt-out hearts,

Something about their pallid stems

Wearing decay like diadems,

Parading finishes like starts,

 

Something about the way they twist

As if to catch the last applause,

And drink the moment through long straws,

And how, tomorrow, they’ll be missed.

 

The way they’re somehow getting clearer,

The tulips make me want to see

The tulips make the other me

(The backwards one who’s in the mirror,

 

The one who can’t tell left from right),

Glance now over the wrong shoulder

To watch them get a little older

And give themselves up to the light.

 

                ~ A. E. Stallings

 

“Rote und gelbe Tulpen” by Lovis Corinth, 1918

March

The stormy March has come at last,

With winds and clouds and changing skies;

I hear the rushing of the blast

That through the snowy valley flies.

 

                 ~ William Cullen Bryant

 

“Snowy Landscape” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1870-1875

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