When the understory of the woods
and you can see the contours
of the earth,
the rock out-croppings—all this
just after the
last pockets of snow disappear,
is still sere, brown, gray—when
now and then
a woodcock whistles or you can hear
a lone goose
going somewhere—all this, this sweet
with no bugs at all, none, not a single one—
clear, beautiful and brief moment,
this is the time
I love the best—
before the world fills up again with
brush, birds, green, a last brief rest—
quiet and peace—
before I have to turn and face
the lush and fertile,
From Happy Life, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in September 2011
Used with the author’s permission.
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David Budbill (1940 - 2016) was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a streetcar driver and a minister's daughter. He is the author of seven books of poems, eight plays, a novel, a collection of short stories, a picture book for children, dozens of essays, and the libretto for an opera. A one-time commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, David received numerous awards in the course of his career. Learn more about him at www.davidbudbill.com.