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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Spring -- Yes, Another Poem About Spring


This is spring – the wooing
of sunlight and soil,
now winter has left us, gone with the snow, shards
of ice; its relentless gales
turned to warm breezes
coax crocuses and squills,
unwrap pungent earth, wake up
the bees.

This is the damp season.
Learn to embrace it.

Spring teaches us to love
the innumerable greens,
the fertility of melt,
and the return of the robins,
as they stamp,
heads canted
listen for worms.

Last Sunday, was the first day we had no gritty snow remaining in our yard.  In Eastern Canada, the winter has been harsh this year, so thoughts of spring are an obsession for me. This poem moves from beginnings of spring still attached to winter, turns on the couplet, then falls joyfully into full spring.

This week, the online course I am following is about turns in a poem.  

For example, sonnets have turns.  An argument is implied and developed; the eighth line comes through to the idea of "maybe" and right after, turns the argument in a different direction.  

A second kind of turn happens not as an argument in a poem but at the line end.  If the syntax doesn't naturally pause at the turn, it is an enjambment. We are sucked into the next line by our curiosity about where the syntax is going to go because it's open, it's broken, it's enjambed. 

There's another turn that can be a kind of conflation of a perceptual and a conceptual turn. Within the poem, there can be a complete reversal of the perceptual scenario. And there can be a conceptual reversal, this turn from talking about a subject to talking about how we can talk about the subject, which is in words -- that miracle that there's a possibility of putting what we feel and what we perceive into words, that we have faith that our words will offer up experience to someone else. 

There are turns that make you feel great to be reading a poem, when you end up in a place that you didn't expect at all. That's one of the exciting things about poetry.

The idea for the poem, I owe to Laura Lush’s poem “Winter” from The First Day of Winter,
(Rondale Press, 1997.) To  read the poem "Winter" and to learn more about Laura Lush, click on this link.

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