Spring by Cazenovia Creek

Spring by Cazenovia Creek

i
The roses have come through
though some are dead to the ankles.
Now, in this cheerful air
they must be feeling pain
where the dead places are stretched
by little flames of juice –

when it catches they burn
burgundy and green and green.

ii
Greek Persephone
in her dry meadows
could linger, could fritter
picking orchids and anemones

but here
earth turns faster
we are all in a hurry –
the hooves, the wheels
are upon you –

breed! breed!
before the dark.

iii
One morning the sky is full of noise
and here they come, yonking
along the creek, circling down, skidding
on the icy sedge, checking it out,
settling in.

A few stragglers –
Hey, you got any room down there?
No! Get lost!

and suddenly
it’s a neighborhood.

iv
Everywhere up and down the road –
yelling their wares beside mailboxes,
along driveways and porches –

forsythia and Schiaparelli-colored quinces –
and tulips and daffodils,
yellow and orange and purple
and scarlet poppies the size of sunflowers
their ripe black hearts already spilling seed

and chartreuse maple leaves untwirling
over the dark mud and slick gray sheen of ice.

The whole world is trumpets bellowing
as loudly as they can,
and not in any tune but their own

none of it composed or assonant
or orchestrated or seemly –
everything just roostering out

because they cannot wait!
they have to ring the bells and shout
Yes! Yes!

v
The green dog runs beside me
following his pleasure,
circling back from time to time
from rocky places or it may be
doorways

and he is green because
new grass is springing, fine and thick
through the old guard hairs

on his back, which is redolent
of sun and dust and bitter herbs

and he says
Smell Here Now.

vi
It’s like you turn your head
for a moment or close your eyes
for a moment, like the pig-iron-
colored frost still has it all locked
for a moment longer and then

faster than you can catch in your wide
palms, in your wide eyes –

saffron-veined crocuses pushing through the ice,
then clouds of crabapples and willows
and mauve rhododendrons
and the cherry tree pouring down snow
into pools of grape hyacinths and forget-me-nots

and lilies of the valley, smelling
like that dream you had about the angel,

and purple irises and lilacs in clusters
of scented grapes, and wisteria –
and suddenly every roadside white and purple
with daisies and wild phlox

and then all along the fence,
fat mops of peonies, as big as your head,
and Renoir-fleshed roses, all
pink shoulders and gold ribbons,
and the lilies already two feet high –

and you are spinning around
to catch it inside your eyes before –

but it won’t stop,
it is galloping downhill, days
like catherine wheels –

everything roistering, everything
busy being what it exactly
is, just as fatly and deliciously
as possible – like little pigs grunting
and sucking it up through their feet,
mouths open to the rain, to the held hose

and you would cry Wait!
but you’re already twelve miles
down the road
and suddenly it’s

vii
Fig-ripe, falling open,   
heavy-breasted, deliquescing.

Melon sky, lightning-split
spitting seeds of thunder.

Caught in the grasses,
light, light, light!

Sugar shimmering in the veins.
On the skin, a slick of sweet.

5 responses to “Spring by Cazenovia Creek

  1. Life life life shouting itself into our lungs in all of this. Thank you, Ruth for such bounty.

  2. Ruth, I love this poem…for the persistent turn at every line deeper into the beauties at our feet in spring…love “pig-iron colored frost,” “yonking,” love the green, its repetition, that the dog is green, love “flat mops of peonies,” love “roistering…” the way you see…just lovely.

  3. I love all the juicy, all the exuberance. But perhaps most of all, I love all the colors, so lovingly described – “Schiaparelli-colored quinces”(!),” green dog”, “pig-iron-colored frost”, “Renoir-fleshed roses, all / pink shoulders and gold ribbons”.

    I’ve only learned in the last few years that I have emotion-color synesthesia, which means that my emotions and moods are entangled with colors in my environment. The picture your words paint is congruent to me with joy and liveliness.

    • Thank you so much, Meander! Color is very resonant with emotion for me too, and although I am not synesthetic I do experience the world kinesthetically, within my body. Thank you for commenting!

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