Friday, May 9, 2008

A Poem for Spring

So a while back, I was reading a post from Beverly at Homeschool Image, and she was reading and writing poems about spring. I always spend some time with my students at this time of year reading e.e. cummings' "in just spring" and "spring is like a perhaps hand" and usually we all go outside and write a spring poem, using our word jars as inspiration. OK, so then there's this year. Seriously cold, even snowing, while we were in the middle of reading poetry. Nothing was saying, "Spring is here! Celebrate her wonder!" We couldn't go outside and sit in the grass because the grass was covered in snow and ice. I suppose we still might, but of course now all of my classes are smack in the middle of some other things, and school is almost over.

In addition, I've been finding poetry writing difficult on a personal level for some time, since I finished my novel, in fact. It seems my brain got so used to paragraphs and sentences I'm just struggling to bend it and shape it into the shorthand of poetry. And honestly, it's always hard to find poetry in my head when I'm buried amid stacks of work. But I read Beverly's post and got inspired, and then I started this blog, where I really want to include poems. Top it off with the little poem I wrote earlier this week about toddler nursing, and I was starting to feel like the words were reaching back out to me again. I started musing about spring as I went for my evening walk, and of course while driving. The best poems always come to me while driving.

Still, it was stubborn, this poem. Lots of false starts going nowhere fast. Until this morning, which coincidentally (or not) is one of the first days it really feels like spring. I was driving to work after dropping the kids off at their new lovely daycare in the woods, and the first couple of lines popped into my head. Luckily, I managed to keep the minivan on the road. Poetry can, after all, be dangerous.

I arrived at work, with several lines shifting and forming in my brain, only to remember that I had a student concern meeting first thing this morning (which, quite typically for me, meant that I was about five minutes late for it already) and couldn't spare a few minutes to scribble them down. Halfway through the meeting I found myself turning to a blank page in my meeting notebook and drafting the following poem. (To be fair, I am a great multi-tasker, and I did wait until the student being discussed was not one in my class!) It's far from final, but once again, if I wait until it's perfect to post it, it will be next spring before I get it down.

subtle spring

too often I think of spring
coiled up tightly
in winter's dark breast
like an ancient clockwork
ticking inexorably on
toward a leafy explosion

I expect transformation,
a dramatic entrance
of cuckoo--
cue the blossoming!

crescendo the birdsong!
bring on the buzzing!

I seek the signs everywhere--
ferns uncurling to the sun,
fuzzy pussy willows softly waving
in a breeze,
a breeze that doesn't chill,

snow beating a rapid retreat
in rivulets running downhill to disappear.

too often the signs I seek
are foiled by winter's lingering--
the robin
taken by surprise,
an eighteen-inch snowfall,
the daffodils pushing
their slim green lives up
through the mud,
only to find themselves encased in ice.

spring it seems does sit
coiled and poised
in the heart of winter, waiting,
but she sets her own time,
her own season
to bloom.


Mary's List said...

Lovely poem about spring. I love best in spring rushing waterfalls -- they make me wistful for some reason.

cowpops said...

The first stanza made me smile really big. I miss reading your poetry on Monday mornings. :) 'Tis Jen, by the way..