(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.)

March 1

Meteorological spring
came in blustery,
wind and snow early,
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.

Spring Sonnet

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.

April Fools

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.

Spring Ahead

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.


May Breeze

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,
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