The red-fingered hands of bleeding hearts
reach up for the pearls of rain that scatter
themselves on its baby leaves, the ones
that survived and revived after the days
of deep frost. It’s as if the threat
never happened, as if life itself wasn’t
hanging in the balance. Birth pains;
that’s all, and a small price to pay
for the privilege of standing here
in this wondrous world, listening
to birdsong and the splash of falling rain.
The rain came today, softly
and smelling of spring. Still,
the birds sang, and on the buds
of a flowering quince, a wee worm
posed. In this quiet light
the world seems a tender place,
delicate and deserving
of all the love we can give.
The weeping cherry trees are springing into bloom,
their white blossoms cascading down long, arched branches,
the blossoms’ golden stamens rising from rosy pods
in a dance of unparalleled joy. They catch me by surprise.
I had forgotten, yet again, how spring erupts in an explosion
of sudden color and bloom, how it bursts onto the scene
with its rainbow parade of delights, day after day.
After winter’s dark sleep, it takes time for my mind,
merely human, to adjust to this deluge of light.
Nevertheless, I shout Yes, and embrace this day
with glad thanks and giddy wonder.
The wonder isn’t so much the way
that forsythia blossoms in spring,
their yellow stars tumbling like clowns
by the hundreds, making something
inside of you smile. It’s that this group
of atoms sees that group as flowers
and that smiles can happen at all.
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.