Resurrection, Leaf-pop, Blue Heron, and Poetry

Ah, can you feel it? The joy of Easter, spring blossoms, and a good poem will brim any heart to overflowing.

Even in the wake of unexpected storms that blasted Colorado this month, renewal has come in the aftermath from hard times. The greening has arrived!

Spring snow, sleet, and rain saturate the soil,/
Run rivulets over the rock cliffs,/
Slick a glisten to all things at first light,/
So that washed, purified, and sparkling,/
We begin again.

Recently, I watched the sauntering, plodding steps of a great blue heron wade the waters of a nearby lake. This tall, stately bird has an unusual and quiet elegance. How utterly composed and almost robotic that creature appeared as it lifted each subsequent leg out of the water and pause midstride before proceeding forward in its slow progression—one methodical leg-dip after the other.

I wondered then if that bird ever hurried. It seemed to be an icon of patience. How did it fare in the late April storm that came to us this past week? Was its stoic-like disposition unruffled in the onslaught of wind and snow? Did it simply intuit that storms will come and storms will go? Ho-hum?

I’d like to think all creatures in creation have an inherent and rhythmic sense tucked somewhere in their DNA about storms, specifically that hard times, too, shall pass, but also that there is some universal theme about life that comes out the other end of hard weathering.

One of my all-time favorite poets, two-time Pulitzer Prize recipient, and 1987 U.S. Poet Laureate, Richard Wilbur, gifted the world with a poem about a storm in April. Not only is his poem about unexpected weather, but in the poet’s own words, it is a poem “about how to die so as to go on living”.

To my heart, this poem speaks of leaving a legacy, and living beyond our here and now.  In this season of Eastertide and the Christian journey from the throes of Good Friday to the victory of the Resurrection, it strikes me as synchronistic in its timing.

Wilbur has been called the “last great metaphysical poet of the 20th century” who “gave voice to the subtle rhymes between earthly and divine, the quotidian and transcendent ….”  What a delight to feature his poem here in celebration of National Poetry Month.

A Storm In April
—by Richard Wilbur

Some winters, taking leave,/
Deal us a last, hard blow,/
Salting the ground like Carthage/
Before they will go./

But the bright, milling snow/
Which throngs the air today—/
It is a way of leaving/
So as to stay./

The light flakes do not weigh/
The willows down, but sift/
Through the white catkins, loose/
As petal-drift/

Or in an up-draft lift/
And glitter at a height,/
Dazzling as summer’s leaf-stir/
Chinked with light./

This storm, if I am right,/
Will not be wholly over/
Till green fields, here and there,/
Turn white with clover,/

And through chill air the puffs of milkweed hover./

Always hopeful for the greening hope after a storm.
Thanks for stopping by.

——————————-   Wilbur reading

Wilbur, Richard. New and Collected Poems. New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988.