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The First Green of Spring
David Budbill


Out walking in the swamp picking cowslip, marsh marigold,
this sweet first green of spring. Now sautéed in a pan melting
to a deeper green than ever they were alive, this green, this life,

harbinger of things to come. Now we sit at the table munching
on this message from the dawn which says we and the world
are alive again today, and this is the world's birthday. And

even though we know we are growing old, we are dying, we
will never be young again, we also know we're still right here
now, today, and, my oh my! don't these greens taste good.

From Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse (Copper Canyon Press)
Permission to use granted by Copper Canyon Press (


David Budbill (1940 - 2016) was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a streetcar driver and a minister's daughter. A track star in high school, he worked at a variety of jobs, with a particular interest in social justice and the great outdoors. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in philosophy and art history and a master's in divinity, David turned his focus to words. In the course of his career, he wrote eight books of poetry, seven plays, two novels, two books for children, a collection of short stories, dozens of essays, and the libretto for an opera. He also collaborated frequently with avant-garde jazz legend William Parker. A one-time commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, David received numerous awards for his work, much of which was inspired by the years he spent living in rural Vermont. Learn more about him at




Post New Comment:
Wonderful poem. We know what's coming, but still enjoy the greens.
Posted 03/23/2015 12:12 PM
Thank you for the reminder....too true...
Posted 03/23/2015 12:11 PM
Beautiful poem.
Posted 03/23/2015 10:29 AM
Beautiful poem....those treasured moments when, in spite of everything, we have hope.
Posted 03/23/2015 10:15 AM
those of us who live in Northern New England especially cherish spring, the cowslips, the fiddleheads, "this green", because we know that in a very short time it is winter again. but at least we have Mr. Budbill to hear from once in a while. thanks Jayne for featuring "one of our own".
Posted 03/23/2015 02:05 AM
Marilyn L Taylor:
Splendid poem. Thank you for writing it.
Posted 03/23/2015 12:24 AM
I love how hopeful the poem is. ... re, the phrase: "Now we sit at the table munching on this message from the dawn which says we and the world are alive again today, and this is the world’s birthday" === Yes, it has the obvious reference to rebirth of the world, but how unique: I LOVE the idea of "INJESTING SPRING"!! WOW!~ how wonderful is that! To be able to "eat" an idea peace, or joy, or love... and feel it through out system... wouldn't that be wonderful!~
Posted 04/13/2011 08:26 PM

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