Spring can start slow here, snow lingers and the wind blows chill sometimes well into May. That doesn’t stop the birds from singing and the grass from greening, or me from putting it all into words.
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 28, 2009. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to respond to your questions.)
Meteorological spring came in blustery, wind and snow early, lion-like. At sunrise, it was a nasty barn cat, cold with a mean breeze coming on rain that fell through the day into the night, glazing trees and shrubs, even the grass blades, tiny bulbs in the yard lit by next morning’s sun.
Black birds call early robins late, the blue bird discusses the snow while house sparrows clatter about, disrupting treaties cardinals and chickadees hammered out through the winter.
I heard the killdeer call through fog at dawn, come with warming weather, a breeze, bare ground. When robins sang through lifting fog, the sound a light, a carol streaming to the sun, I knew, though hope and folly be as one, that sproutings and buddings could be found, if one but looked, not far beneath the mound of winter’s trash and leavings in the lawn. Dusk brought snow and silence deep as the well, the new moon, still incomplete, promised change. My hope of green new blanketed by white, I bowed beneath the old and frozen spell of cold fronts pushing south beyond the range of spring’s push north, and winter took the night.
Wind has rattled doors all spring, knocked down trees, blown bits of our lives back and back again. We puzzle over how this is stuck against the big barn doors, that wrapped around the dead pine. Shingles that don’t belong pile between barn and shed, and daffodils fray like linens left too long on the line, they lie against the dead grass in a sudden calm.
April Fool’s Song
West wind moves through tree tops yet bare, drops down sets the old leaves dancing. The song it sings is buddy and rich as late season maple. Killdeer calls, fighting the wind to circle the yard, down from the hill he draws his invisible boundaries
The coming of Daylight Saving Time has never been particularly welcomed on the farm.
Struggling up in the dark all winter, we have watched the horizon brighten softly through March, now April brings us dawn, full measure, robin song and killdeer circling, moonshine fading into sunrise. And this morning, just as we would grow full into daybreak, others have changed the time, pulled the darkness like a blanket forward an hour, given themselves a brighter evening, time to enjoy the lingering dusk in their canyon streets and garden suburbs. The cows groan in the dark, reluctant, and I with them, as we begin again.
The sun is where it would be, no matter what our clocks say.
Bits and pieces fall in my way, moments that demand words, but not too many.
A thousand little spiders dash in the dry grass along the fenceline.
The peepers sing in the dusk. Out of the mud, their song drifts sweet and green.
I trim roses and watch the yellow warbler dance through the forsythia. Do you see him - bird now, or flower? He sings, ah, bird. Forsythia blooms drift silent on a May breeze.
It rains and mayflies dance their dance, one day, one dance into the night to the love songs of a thousand tiny frogs ‘til morning finds them, beautiful in death.
Late in the season, I begin to feel a part of it all, down to the very small.
This labyrinth whorled and transparent shows the world, when I peer out, golden, a reassuring fantasy. The garden snail wishes I would leave it be but I persist in taking up space.
All poems copyright Kathleen M. Tenpas
the following are from the manuscript Weeds: "Spring Sonnet" "Wind" "April Fools" "Labyrinth"
The following are from Almanac : "March 1" "Equinox" "April Fool's Song" "Spring Ahead" "A thousand little spiders" "The peepers sing" "May Breeze" "Ephemera"
photos property of Kathleen M. Tenpas
About Kathleen M. Tenpas
We have a grazing dairy of 55 cows in the rolling hills of western New York State where we raised two daughters who have now blessed us with four grandchildren. I have messy, jungly beds of old roses, (some real antiques left by former owners), perennials, wildflowers and lots and lots of not so ornamental grasses! I have a Masters degree in Creative Writing: Poetry from Antioch University. I am a photographer and fabric artist and I bake a mean loaf of bread.