The First Day of Spring

To some the first day of spring was cruel
in its remembrance of lost love;
their sorrowful souls rose up like morning mist
to see their rejected hearts from above.

At the foot of the path lilac surprised them,
and threatened to overwhelm their despair;
on the road they were confronted by wildflowers
and then, in the field, by the bull’s forbidding stare.

To some the first day of spring stepped across
the threshold of the house like a doctor’s gait:
a splash of fever covered them like a blanket,
and the light filled their rooms like a gentle fate.

To some the first day of spring was a blue-eyed boy;
to others, Demeter’s ghost rising from the heat,
or a hawk on the peak of a barn’s red roof,
or Persephone’s rebirth in a field of wheat.

To me the first day of spring brought with it
the sun and the wind in battle with each other,
brought old memories and regret and joy
and heartache and love all mixed up with the weather.

By afternoon the wind got the upper hand.
It whipped the dust up along the road,
pushed the clouds into a herd, and pulled a storm down
from the sky like a donkey with a heavy load.

But the rain was in a hurry; chased by the sun,
it stampeded across a meadow,
jumped a fence, and escaped through the woods
down to the river where the willows grow.

It left its wet imprint of glittering stars
in the yard and on the green, green hills.
At nightfall puddles like mirrors reflected the dusk
and harbored what remained of the winter’s chill.