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>The Maypole

April 12, 2011

>We had a warm day here on Sunday, and now the lilacs in back and the apple tree in front are all leafed out, and the grass is turning green.  I was leafing through a new volume of poetry by Linda Pastan and found this one that’s just right for the time of year, a reply to one of my favorite Wallace Stevens poems, The Snow Man:

The Maypole
after Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of spring
to regard the cherry tree burdened
with blossom;

and have been warm for days
to behold the boughs of the redbud
prickly with color in the glint

of the April sun; and not to think
of any cruelty in the difficult birthing
of so many leaves, to feel only pure

elation at the sound of the undulant breeze
which is the sound of every garden
with a breeze blowing among its flowers,

the sound the listener hears, watching the buds
which were not quite here a week ago
pushing up from oblivion now.

Since we’re still in the middle of “the cruelest month,” it rained yesterday and got cold again last night.  Our elderly gentleman rabbit who spent most of the winter in our dining room is still coming in at night, because the breeze is still more of a cold wind.  But there are a lot of buds. It looks like there are good things to come.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2011 2:13 pm

    >I have both the The Snow Man and the opening to The Waste Land posted on the bulletin board next to my desk and so I very much enjoyed this rejoinder. It's a nice addition to the collection of poems that tends to whirl around my head at this time of year, which also includes Wordsworth and Chaucer. Although this morning Mr. Spy and I were sniggering through Sharon Olds' reading of her poem, Ode to a Composting Toilet (after Neruda's "Ode to Common Things").

  2. April 12, 2011 2:14 pm

    >Our cheery tree is in full bloom, the plum tree just coming into bloom, and the Bradford pears announcing their intention of a glorious show within the next several days. The temps were in the high 70s yesterday, and people were giddy with happiness. No coats for Easter this year!

  3. April 12, 2011 3:36 pm

    >My redbuds did nothing this year – suffered from a sudden frost. But, the apple tree is flowering and the tulips are emerging! SPRING! SPRING!

  4. April 12, 2011 3:38 pm

    >(whacks self)I always assumed the bunny to be a she!Great poem.-lemming

  5. April 12, 2011 8:23 pm

    >Harriet, you are one of the most widely-read people I know, and I know a lot of people who pride themselves on being widely-read! I love Sharon Olds' irresistible urge to shock, and am glad she hasn't grown out of it yet.PAJ, a cheery cherry tree! You seem to be replying to Keats' poem To Autumn, thinking that warm spring days will never cease. I was back in my winter coat today, though.FreshHell, Something always gets hit by frost. Our forsythia are just open up here.Lemming, haven't you heard the story about Eleanor's tenth birthday party, when her friend who was in 4-H demonstrated to all the little girls that the bunny is undeniably a male?!

  6. April 13, 2011 2:18 pm

    >I LOVE SPRING! I love Fall, too but since it's Spring NOW, it is Spring that gets my tender affections. It is raining right now; I swear I can visually SEE the grass greening.

  7. April 13, 2011 2:26 pm

    >Care, does this mean you're watching the grass grow? Now that's spring fever!

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