Thursday, June 3, 2010

With Apologies to Keats

Keats' poem "To Autumn" has always been one of my favorites. I've never found a more evocative description of a September morning than his "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness." While walking to work last month, passing apple and cherry trees laden with blossoms, I tried to think of a spring equivalent to Keats' ode. Here's what I came up with.

To Spring

Season of buds and mellow ruddiness
Close BFF of the awakening earth
Contriving with her how to gild and drape
With noisy color all the plants in town;
To grace with red wings the maple trees
And smother the lawn with violets small and bright;
To trumpet the daffodil, and raise the pansy’s face
To meet the sun; to set budding more,
And still more, purple azaleas for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease—
For you've whispered sweet nothings to them all.

Who hasn't seen you wearing your petals,
throwing hues about, carelessly trying
them all to see which part of a rainbow
suits you best? They all do, beautiful girl.
You've painted the town with weightless colors,
the air itself held between branches, caught
by sunlight, refracted sumptuously.
And your odors—sweet blanket of cherries,
sharp fume of white pear, lilac's silken scent—
lure all who breathe into the spell of your
department store collection of perfumes.

Who hasn't heard you barking from behind
the glass, or on the street as you promote
you wares? Enough for everyone to buy!
You've so much richness, but its twin, loss, lurks
within each colorful piece of jewelry.
Wind plucks petals by handfuls, tosses them
in torrents on the ground, snows white and pink.
Spring, you vixen, you’re too harsh to last long.
Summer will smooth your rough edges with green,
closing in the view of mountain and cloud
with sheltering shade, the soothe of leaf.

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