In honor of National Poetry Month, I share with you this poem inspired by the winter we’ve just had and the spring that’s taking her time. (It’s also inspired by a prompt given by my mentor, Kimberly Cloutier-Green, poet extraordinaire, to our poetry circle.)
No Longer This and Not Yet That
~ Mary Lou Hamilton Bagley
What season this? Not Winter, yet not Spring.
An icy bite and sudden snowflakes form
and dance around, obscuring stark, bare things,
then light upon the crocus’ pointed corm
as sunlight breaks from just behind a cloud,
showering us with brightness but no heat,
and makes us gasp with wonderment out loud
and lift our arms and stamp our booted feet
that we can stand here, thus, immersed in both —
in weak but blooming sunshine and in snow —
while still a dream, the greening and the growth,
and still an echo, temps of well below.
The wheel seems stalled. The Equinox has come,
with equal parts of darkness and of light,
turning now more toward the sun, not from,
as days grow ever longer than the nights;
and yet, deep winter lingers in the air.
Still full of what’s been lost, it clings to me.
The ground, once clothed in white, is mostly bare
while dirty mounds hide what is yet to be.
My yard is littered — branches, twigs and sticks.
Dry crackling leaves from maples, oaks and beech
skitter across the landscape, chase, and mix,
and, dervish-like, in whirling eddies reach
up toward the sky in search of deeper blues
beyond the belly-heavy clouds of white and gray,
to where the birds can see with unobstructed view
that Spring is truly on its warming way.
This in-between time speaks to me of pause,
reminds me of the not ‘twixt in and out,
the gap that lies between effect and cause,
what space between each breath is all about.
Played out each day at twilight and at dawn —
that almost light between the night and day,
that violet hour when birds sing evensong —
that spaciousness that lives, and then gives way,
is showing me that I need never fear
when asked to simply be and hold to trust.
If all I’ve been and known should disappear,
I’m not to grasp at shadows, cling to dust.
The natural world reflects my inner state;
yet I, alone, resist what’s underway.
The suffering that I’m feeling, I create:
beg Spring to come; bid Winter not to stay.
Okay, now it’s your turn. Please accept this as an invitation to write a poem (any style or length) of your own. Haiku is always fun. It’s made up of three lines, with a 5, 7, and 5 syllable count, and is usually nature-themed.
When you’re done, go out and read it out loud to your backyard, a favorite tree, the birds, your plants, your animal companions, or to yourself.
Celebrate National Poetry Month with one of your own, won’t you?