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Twelve March Poems

 MARCH MAD

 
 
“March Snow”
 
There is something hopeful about March,
something benevolent about the light,
 
and yet wherever I look snow
has fallen or is about to fall, and the cold
 
is so unexpected, so harsh,
that even the spider lily blooming
 
on the windowsill seems no more
than another promise, soon to be broken.
 
It is like a lover who speaks
the passionate language of fidelity, but
 
when you look for him, there he is
in the arms of winter.
 
— Linda Pastan
 
* * *
 
“March morning unlike others”
 
Blue haze. Bees hanging in the air at the hive-mouth.
Crawling in prone stupor of sun
On the hive-lip. Snowdrops. Two buzzards,
Still-wings, each
Magnetized to the other,
Float orbits.
Cattle standing warm. Lit, happy stillness.
A raven, under the hill,
Coughing among bare oaks.
Aircraft, elated, splitting blue.
Leisure to stand. The knee-deep mud at the trough
Stiffening. Lambs freed to be foolish.
 
The earth invalid, dropsied, bruised, wheeled
Out into the sun,
After the frightful operation.
She lies back, wounds undressed to the sun,
To be healed,
Sheltered from the sneapy chill creeping North wind,
Leans back, eyes closed, exhausted, smiling
Into the sun. Perhaps dozing a little.
While we sit, and smile, and wait, and know
She is not going to die.
 
— Ted Hughes
 
* * *
 
“Sunny Day in March”
 
Even the weathercock turns with the sun on such a day.
It must be spring. Outside the cellar wall the cat
has found himself shelter. He’s asleep, no doubt,
but his fur is well puffed up and his paws
well tucked under. A fly has been tempted out
from a crack in the warm plank wall — starts
buzzing. Soon stiffens. It’s too cold.
 
— Olav H. Hauge
translated from the Norwegian by Robin Fulton
 
* * *
 
“A Death in March”
 
Even so the Spring goes forward.
The rind of the trees weepy with sap. No spigot to carry it off.
From here to the other side, ice is motley. The river’s current
expression: a stutter of ice cakes on the shore. Fret of spume.
Some days, though, we waken to snow,
fugacious erasure of mud and broken branches.
We feel the setback. Want the spectacular squalor
of Spring: its colourless smear. There’s no word for that.
For snow falling, fugue slow, through fog. Earth and air
unable to settle what it’s to be. Now is after. Or, ahead?
Interrugnum: Its beauty is brutal. A raw wind through bereft.
 
— Anne Compton
 
* * *
 
“Spring Equinox Full Moon”
 
I breathe to you
love in the south of the many
months of spring
hibiscus in dark hair water
at the source
shadows glistening to hips
thighs slender sunset shining shores
 
fingers rolled fragrant leaves
presence of deep woods
earth veiled in green drift
that hides running
of small airs
untraceable fine sounds
passing as on a face
feet first drops of rain on a mountain
hands greeting flowers
holden stolen flowers
 
closed eyes of every creature
sepia and amber days
back
of tall tree
arms’ glide
voice of rain forests
birds in tree heights
throat of palm
 
wrist of palm
palm of palm
morsel breasts
melon navel waist of high waterfall
surf laughter face hearing music
body of flight
secret
beach
 
away from you on a corner of the earth
I want to think for six hours of your hair
which is the invention of singing
daughter of islands
born in the flood of the fish harvest
I see long mornings
lying on your hair
I remember looking for you
 
— W. S. Merwin
 
* * *
 
“March 2003”
 
In March exact shadows on snow,
blue in the spectrum overtakes lavender;
the pillows of vapor at a slow bedroom gallop.
 
Up, up, the whistle pierces; the burn
of one and one, couples the rising
yearn, twin twine, dare,
and thickening flash in shoals.
 
Even deep-rooted conifers,
their green wax fangs open,
hustling in the languorous swells.
 
— Ruth Stone
 
* * *
 
“Unknown Things”
 
were set before me on earth .
But once I touched them I’d known them
right back from the blinding sight I caught
of the glacier by whose foot red and golden
birds foraged in the shadow of tall mammoths
and the noise I heard from the bells and the smell
of church porches, earth in March, so many springs . . .
Every day tools they were. A hammer, a saw and
the things which people during the time they have on earth
learn the names of, and cut into each other with.
 
— Henrik Nordbrandt
translated from the Danish by Robin Fulton
 
* * *
 
“March 21”
 
The vernal equinox is to blame
for the celestial uproar, Anne
Carson said, and nothing surprises
me more than the streaks of white
sunlight this morning with Dexter
Gordon’s version of “Tangerine”
in my mind the day is a rhyme
the pencil broke, no need to shout,
I want a girl to write sonnets about
in college & love is the food
that nourishes what it consumes
in springlike days in furnished rooms
I’m hungry, please come and touch me
and I’ll whisper your name the only
thing missing in this picture is you
 
— David Lehman
 
* * *
 
“March”
 
A bear under the snow
Turns over to yawn.
It’s been a long, hard rest.
 
 
Once, as she lay asleep, her cubs fell
Out of her hair,
And she did not know them.
 
It isk hard to breathe
In a tight grave:
 
So she roars,
And the roof breaks.
Dark rivers and leaves
Pour down.
 
When the wind opens its doors
In its own good time,
The cubs follow that relaxed and beautiful woman
Outside to the unfamiliar cities
Of moss.
 
— James Wright
 
* * *
 
“If I Could Paint Essences”
(Hay on Wye)
 
Another day in March. Late
rawness and wetness. I hear my mind say,
if only I could paint essences.
 
Such as the mudness of mud
on this rainsoaked dyke where coltsfoot
displays its yellow misleading daisy.
 
Sch as the westness of west here
in England’s last thatched, rivered
county. Red ploughland. Green pasture.
 
Black cattle. Quick water. Overpainted
by lightshafts from layered gold
and purple cumulus. A cloudness of clouds
 
which are not likie anything but clouds.
 
But just as I arrive at true sightness of seeing,
unexpectedly I want to play on those bell-toned
cellos of delicate not-quite-flowering larches
 
tht offer, on the opposite hill, their unfurled
amber instruments — floating, insubstantial, a rising
horizon of music embodied in light.
 
And in such imagining I lose sight of sight.
Just as I’ll lose the tune of what
hurls in my head, as I turn back, turn
 
home to you, conversation, the inescapable ache
of trying to catch, say, the catness of cat
as he crouches, stalking his shadow,
 
on the other side of the window.
 
— Anne Stevenson
 
* * *
 
“Three Things That Make Me Outrageously
Happy in March”
 
Begin with the evergreen Clematis montana. Shy
about opening, blooms pulse into view
a few at a time against the night sky. Some
morning, a creamy tsunami
sweeps over the chain-link fence in a spring
seizure of yearning. Drenches the passerby in
dizzying scent and charges winter’s
dark air without warning.
 
Next, the black umbrella
ribs of Styrax japonica open to rain. Their
delicate green incipient leaves
reverse the gradual losses of autumn. remember
this overture to the Japanese Snowbell
symphony in May when it’s time to clean up
the carpet of dried flowers and pods, time to
cart uprooted seedlings away.
 
When navel oranges
kissed by lazy California sun, glow like
moons in every supermarket, I go
crazy, buy all I can carry. At home, they
tumble from the sack to kiss my eager lips, and as
that nectar of the gods floods my veins, I live
in lovers’ paradise every juicy moment
of Seattle rains.
 
— Madeline DeFrees
 
* * *
 
“March”
 
A Caribbean airflow
shampoos the brook.
The deepsea deepwarm look of
sky wakes green below
amid the rinds of snow.
 
Though all seems melt and rush,
earth-loaf, sky-wine,
swept to bright new horizons
with hill-runnel, and gash,
all soaked in sunwash,
 
far north, the ice
unclenches, booms
the chunks and floes, and river brims
vanish under cold fleece:
the floods are loose!
 
The sullen torn
old skies through tattery trees
clack, freezing
stiffens loam; the worn
earth’s spillways then relearn
how soaring bliss
and sudden-rigoring frost
release
without all lost.
 
— Margaret Avison
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