Stepping into the next world
must be, I think, like walking,
after winter, into spring.
One by one, loved ones appear,
the ones you have been longing to see,
the ones who had been lost in the depths
of your memory and surprise you,
each one thrilling you and filling you
with gladness. Today, as I strolled
past the old stone wall, a bugle weed
greeted me, humming its tiny lavender
song. From the creek, I heard peepers
peeping. This is as close to heaven,
I think, as earth can get.
Be like this. Bright,
regardless of the gloom.
Carry the sun inside you
and pour it freely
into the world as if
its light were the only truth,
the only thing
A Spring Beauty! I counted three.
Before long, so many will appear
that the hillside will look as if snow
fell overnight. Meanwhile, the air,
pleasant against my bare arms,
carries, at last, the songs of birds,
after the long, long silence.
Even after seventy years,
I am awed and astonished
at how suddenly and gently
the world wakes from a sleep
that seemed so deep and endless.
These are no accident.
This is no random event.
That tiny violet crocuses
open their fragile petals
and raise gold trumpets
of joy despite two weeks
of frozen air is proof.
Here is the Yes, giving
life, giving beauty,
The invisible white ponies of spring
pranced past leaving hoof prints
along the roadside and in the woods,
sun-coins of joy to mark the trail
for all the little wildflowers that follow
in their wake. And I, happening
upon them, bent to touch their petals,
and felt their light singing right down
to the center of my heart.
Some irresistible part of puddles
calls to toes, even those of giants.
Maybe it’s the sheer muddiness,
the squish, the wet, the way
they let you feel glued to the ground
and still let you wiggle.
Maybe it’s the way they show you
how you look against sky, or the fact
that they sing of spring and bring
forth worms and tadpoles.
Maybe it’s the here today, gone
tomorrow part of them that makes you
think you’d better wade right in while
the wading’s good. Whatever, toes
know. And in they go.
Okay, little lamb. You did it.
Laying there in the new grass,
your baby hooves tucked up,
your ears poked out, your face
wearing that little lamb smile,
you stole my heart. My eyes
send you pets as warm as
this new spring sunshine,
and I sing you welcome,
little one. Oh, baby!
You stole this old girl’s heart.
For ten days now, they’ve been huddling
beneath a makeshift tent of plastic
with only a 60-watt bulb, burning
day and night, to protect them
from the frost and frozen air.
I beamed them a loving intention:
Thrive, sweet ones, and grow.
Today, on this first day of Spring,
I pulled back the sheet that covered
them and fell back laughing
at their radiance and song.
They live! We live!
We made it through.
And now the soft air rings
with the laughter of wee flowers
and the singing of spring’s first birds.
The lake, edged by a pine woods
that shelters the last of the snow,
and wearing a thin coat of
disappearing ice, seems to hold
all seasons in this single instant
of now, enlarging it, expanding it,
until you envision its multiple
moods flowing in a kaleidoscope
of absolute and ever changing joy.
Like ripples on spring’s incoming tide,
the snow comes; the snow goes.
Here at midnight it falls to dress the boughs
once more. By morning, it will have turned
to rain. And the budding flowers will drink
its dew and stand in the daylight strengthened.
But tonight there is a midnight snow,
sparkling, and silent, and lovely.