A few days of daffodils, forsythia
tentatively yellow and then
eighty degrees in March!
The peonies stretch six inches
in two days, the first movement
in a sudden symphony
of color—the blue piccolos
of periwinkle, then the deeper
notes of Formosa azaleas
and saucer magnolias, joined by the green
rhythm of basswoods, all scribbled on scores
of white dogwoods, apricots,
cherries, everything that was programmed
for April. Only the oaks remain
at rest, their long strings open
to the sun, knowing that one good
frost could bring the whole place down.
Maybe, maybe not we say
just before bedtime as each window darkens
and the last one fills with
Leipzig, Krakow, Vilnius, all
still frozen except for the flowers
of faces suddenly open
to hope, fear, over the blinding
fire of dawn snow.
From Commandments at Eleven (Orchises, 1994).
Used with the author’s permission.