I’m a little behind the season with this. I kept going back to it, revising, revising revisions, dropping stanzas, rewriting the closing more than once. Now bluets, daffodils, and hyacinths are blooming too, in the churchyard and around the village. But this is about the very first of the little resurrections.
Nothing in bloom but a few snowdrops and coltsfoot:
the first along a sunny wall in the yard and the latter
on the river trail that runs from the graveyard into town.
Though neither is native to this sparse North Country
upland, it’s easy to see why settlers planted them here.
When winter drags on then slumps into mud season,
itself a pallid purgatory, who can wait for trillium,
for apple blossoms, for lilacs that still are weeks away?
In the language of flowers, the snowdrop spells hope.
And they are said to counteract poison. Can you feel it?
Bluet, daffodil, hyacinth, iris, tulip, day lily, tiger lily.
It’s not so much their blooming as knowing that they
will bloom, each in turn — an Easter faith each spring
renews, thawing out the stony heart of winter — saved,
as Mary Oliver once said, “by the beauty of the world.”
Roots stir the dirt, groping down toward water, stems
break duff, groping up toward light. After the leaves, buds
that bloom, blow, and seed. What is this if not salvation?
Whether it be angel or heron so high above the foothills,
the sun, buttery as coltsfoot, has created a new morning.
Note: unpublished draft