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Ode to Spring
Arlene Gay Levine


The purple berries of Trilliums
would be most welcome in
this ghostly gray cold.
Salt marsh dreams of rose mallows:
hairy stems gaily brushing your legs
in their scarlet way
coddle the frozen senses back to life.
Blue-eyed grass, star-like, borne atop
slender stems in moist meadows speaks
of open spaces we must seek
lest we leave our souls hibernate
in winter.
Don’t disdain the weak, reclining
stems of the common chickweed
whose flesh transforms
into a feast for songbirds.
Who would announce The Return
if chickweeds didn’t make the sacrifice?
Along shaded roadsides and in rich woods,
keep eyes open for the Bloodroot; it knows
about the dark: clear white petals fold
in evening as even now,
on the verge of light, our hearts
are tight yet ready to yield.
Like the arbutus, scarce from careless picking,
hope appears before these bitter winds
get the better of us. Tough creepers
with healing evergreen leaves,
their spicy fragrance wafts free early enough
to wake the sleepers from winter’s grave,
to live another day and taste in spring
(yes, it will come)
the violet-blue tonic of a Fringed Gentian,
its vase-like self so difficult to cultivate,
so worth the wait.

© by Arlene Gay Levine.
Used with the author’s permission.

Arlene Gay Levine is an award-winning poet, author, and educator who lives with her husband in New York City. The author of 39 Ways to Open Your Heart: An Illuminated Meditation (Conari Press) and Movie Life (Finishing Line Press), her poetry and prose have found a home in The New York Times, numerous anthologies and journals, an Off-Broadway show, a CD, and radio programs. Arlene has served as a judge for the Illinois State and Virginia State Poetry Society Contests, and is the creator/facilitator of Logos Therapy™, a transformational writing process. Learn more about her at


Post New Comment:
This delightful, vividly descriptive poem conveys a love of nature and a knowledge of plants and flowers.
Posted 03/13/2022 03:34 PM
I look forward to your poems Arlene and this one is especially hopeful in our world of today. Ill be looking for the tough creepers, their spicy fragrance a first sign of spring. Lovely poem.
Posted 03/12/2022 09:34 PM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Many thanks for your heartwarming comments sent from my snow-dusted garden on this windy New York City night.
Posted 03/12/2022 08:56 PM
Lori Levy:
All the flowers come alive for me in this poem.
Posted 03/12/2022 04:54 PM
I find this lovely poem intriguing: the descriptions, the structure, the similes (petals/heart, arbutus/hope). Love the lavish (and exuberant, see comment below) language. I know nothing about flowers and plants; suddenly feel a great lack.
Posted 03/12/2022 04:38 PM
What a knowledge Levine has about wildflowers and weeds growing in the woods... she makes me want to walk with her and see these flowers.
Posted 03/12/2022 12:32 PM
Janet Leahy:
I agree with Larry, the third stanza brings us hope and yes in our world today we need hope.
Posted 03/12/2022 10:50 AM
Wonderful descriptions. Lovely poem
Posted 03/12/2022 09:54 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I'm an Arlene Gay Levine fan. Love this uplifting, descriptive poem. The alliteration is so musical: The purple berries of Trilliums would be most welcome in this ghostly gray cold.
Posted 03/12/2022 09:43 AM
Wonderful study in expert lineage decisions Arlene. Thank you for lessons in using exuberant language. Perfect poem for the month of March.
Posted 03/12/2022 08:25 AM
Larry Schug:
I especially like the third verse. To me it is a way to get through the realities of the world we inhabit. Sometimes it seems hope is all we have, but thank goodness for that.
Posted 03/12/2022 07:32 AM
Darrell Arnold:
Yep. Spring is poised for the burst. And so am I. Nice job, Arlene.
Posted 03/12/2022 06:54 AM

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