The Way Spring Comes Again
Where I live, we wait for spring, and it comes when it likes but it does come. Fashionably late, you could say. Everyone on Instagram has been posting photos of blossoms for what seems like ages, and ours have just begun. The leaves take forever to come, and one day, they're just there.
What I love about the internet is that you can type in “spring again” and you can come up with a handful of poems.
Like this one by Jesús Paoleto Meléndez which begins:
spring came /
the same way winter left
& summer will come
& summer will leave; slowly
/ when no one's expecting it
when people are tired of waiting
like waiting for welfare checks /
a long wait/ a slow wait
In spring poets have to be ready for the poems that will inevitably arrive. Maybe they are poems of hope, but maybe they’re about noticing things, about breathing, the way spring comes again whether humanity deserves it or not. Maybe spring can teach us, too, how to live with hard things, the death of our loved ones, the way we, too, are growing older. Spring teaches us about waiting, about readiness, about surprising arrivals.
Spring Poem For the Sake of Breathing, Written After a Walk to Foster Island
by James Masao Mitsui
The sky wants the water to turn grey,
but if I notice how waves
play with the clumps of yellow flags,
or the way turtles share logs,
or even try to understand a friend’s decision
to walk onto a glacier
and end her life—I will be ready
for any poems that have been waiting.
The horizon opens as I walk,
escorted by swans and Canada geese.
I need to stop backpedaling into the present.
In my old life people would straighten
the truth, but the river
flows in curves.
The names of my father and my mother
rest next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery.
The distance between me and the mountains
measures an uneven thought: I feel like an orphan.
An early moon is just a piece of change
in the softening sky.
Light is such an actress. Time to seek
Hopper’s wish to simply paint sunlight
on the wooden wall of a house. I am growing
older. Maru in Japanese means
will make it back home.
It occurs to me just now that I have been writing about poems and poetry for so long now without having exactly written a poem myself for years. So there is that kind of waiting, too.