Spring Poetry by Ellery Littleton

 

“April is the cruelest month.” So wrote T.S. Eliot almost 100 years ago. In a way, he was right. April can be a very cruel experience to people who imagined that the arrival of spring would wash away all their woes – the ones they carried through the winter like a pack of stones. But for most people, the true blush of early spring arrives like a gust of good news, refreshing and invigorating.

I have chosen a few poems from my book Riverwalk: A Poem a Day for a Year which say something about spring (plus one recent one from my ongoing series of new poems from the I Ching) in an effort to create a little verbal tapestry of the season. I want to share these poems because it’s spring and because that’s one of the things poets do, isn’t it? Try to capture something of the season in the moment.

Ellery Littleton’s next Spirit Journal program will be October 14-16, 2016. His books of poetry – including his most recent – Travelling Light: Haven Haiku – are available in the Haven store.

 

March 27

early spring rain

pretty girl

yawning

in the coffee shop

 

April 5

a mysterious shift

in the visual plane …

suddenly sunshine

 

April 7

New moon poised

like a golden blade

above the horizon.

New season pouring

cold and sharp

like ice wine.

After enlightenment

the moon is just

the moon, and spring

is spring again.

 

April 12

sunny day …

full circle

another spring

swings by

she is tentative

at first, then

bold and bright

a gangly young

goddess with

spiky hair

pale skin

and long legs

wearing yellow

and pink and green.

I am father to this

dazzling daughter

of the earth.

 

April 19

Out of sorts

I return from town.

Then, in the garden,

the cherry tree.

 

May 12

I wash my cup.

I dry my hands.

I walk outside

into the cool starlight

of a spring night.

My grown children are asleep

in their own beds, far away,

breathing deep and slow, I know.

The air is sweet with flower scent

drifting from the park.

 

Somewhere a dog barks,

a door slams, a yellow lamp

spills light like molten butter

through the dark.

Thin white clouds float

across the new moon

and I can feel the slow motion

of the globe rolling round

the hidden midnight sun.

 

May is the month of

of shooting stars this year …

three seconds of silver fire

and they’re dead.

I burn more slowly

than the stones that fall

from space. I love the light

my moving life creates.

 

May 13

Finally, I give myself the gift

of a few minutes outside on this

warm and fragrant afternoon

in the oasis of the back yard

to sit under the oak on my

favourite bench and write

myself a poem.

 

May 17

My green friend is pale,

sickly-hued and jealous,

yes.

Unripe, young and tender,

not dried, seasoned or tanned,

true.

Immature? Naturally.

Also undeveloped,

inexperienced and gullible,

fresh and not healed.

Loves unripe cheeses,

Turtle fat (esteemed by epicures),

the plums of Sir William Gage,

the apples of Granny Smith,

the woodlands in the summer

and the outlaw life.

 

Builds little glass houses

for his garden of moss,

peas and shamrocks.

Collects feldspar,

hornblende and jade.

Takes tea

at the gaming table,

plays billiards and croquet,

bowls, putts and punts

on the grassy public plain.

Wears an emerald in his navel

and a glove on the thumb

of his green right hand.

My green friend …

how he grows on me!

 

May 31

beautiful May

luscious May

hard to let her go …

if I could persuade her

to stick around forever

I would too

I know.

 

June 20

Sister solstice arrived today

without a fanfare or a fuss,

a passenger on the mid-day

bus from Gemini to Cancer.

A tourist from the south

in a Polynesian skirt,

she sashayed off toward

the bay, and on the way

she kissed me on the mouth.

 

March 29, 2016

#68 – JOY - Moment Over Moment

Joy grows from the inside, like a flower.

Not a rose, necessarily, or an azalea …

or a dahlia … perhaps a sweet pea.

Yes … a sweet pea, with the natural

scent of heaven … an impossibly light

champagne cocktail of gossamer molecules,

invisible to the naked nose, conjuring

memories both poignant and exquisitely

sweet … and bittersweet for being so brief.

 

Today joy has chosen me; I am not looking

ahead or looking back; I am just at home

with my feet on the earth, in this moment …

watering the sweet peas.