Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two Poems for Spring

Spring is almost here...!


Persephone, lift up your head


Persephone, lift up your head
That wilts with dewy tears;
Return, for from its barren bed
The lily bloom appears.
A golden eagle cuts the sky
To chase the cold away,
And satyrs lift their staffs on high
To call their nymphs to play.
Your shepherds pipe:
The time is ripe
To break the spell
And rise from hell!

The winter’s chains have melted down
As gray gives way to green,
And Hades, grudging, tips his crown--
While spilling tears unseen.
There’s love above and love below,
But life is only here!
O shadowed maiden, hear and know
The budding of the year!
Your shepherds pipe:
The time is ripe
To break the spell
And rise from hell!

Within your mother’s fruitful womb
The seeds of springtime stir,
As you, amidst sepulchral gloom,
Reluctant queen, endure.
The moment’s come; don’t let it flee!
For liberty is brief:
The blossom, smiling bright in glee
Must shortly frown in grief.
Your shepherds pipe:
The time is ripe
To break the spell
And rise from hell!

O never let the minstrels cry
And miss your pure embrace,
For ev’ry heart’s lamenting sigh
Invokes your absent grace.
This verdant garden earth awaits
To feel your tender kiss:
Persephone, your prison’s gates
Have opened unto bliss!
Your shepherds pipe:
The time is ripe
To break the spell
And rise from hell!



Spring Tease


March: most cruel of months I call you
(With the bitterest hiss of my love),
Giving birth to flowers and fields
In sunlight and long-awaited warmth
Like oases of vivifying fiery gold
On the fringe of a desert of dust--
Which you, black magician, dissolve
As if only a glamour or wish
Glimpsed on the wavering screen
Of a shivering, hibernating brain
Keeping warm in the jittery movement
Of the teeth and, at times, of the heart.

Be it a day, or several, or a week
At most you may grant, wicked tempter of hell,
In which all that lives can cast off
The layers of nature or machine
And breathe through every dormant pore
That essence infusing the blood
Through the breath, through the eye,
Through the ear, tongue, and skin,
And bearing aloft every vaporous thought
Afloat on the shimmering sea of the mind.

March: birthplace of so many things,
A charlatan and false deity I deem you.
For every bud breaking the shell of soil,
For every season coming round to its time,
For every creature gazing fresh upon the world,
You have a hidden freezing blow to cast and kill.

I evoke the frost, your imp, upon you
And call to the earth to cast off its hardened skin
And bury you down in its molten core
For purgation in plasma and flame.
May you learn all the virtues of heat
From the whispering earth deep below
And return, be reborn, both kinder and wise,
With the world in full bloom as it greets you:
Perhaps your beauty thus may penetrate within,
Fulfilling the promise teased out from your show.


Image credit: 4028mdk09, from Wikimedia Commons, under a Creative Commons License.