Jacaranda

Uncommonly strong, it stays purple,
while elsewhere the street is lined

with debris from seasons
which the trees soon forgot.

Confused fig-leaves turn golden,
drop to the ground as rain gushes gutters

and sunscreen, umbrellas,
opposites, swap in uncertain hands –

yet lilac and stoic at the end of my street
Jacaranda declares it is summer.

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The Week of Cherry Blossoms

Today is something of an anniversary for me. Seven years ago, on this day, I wrote my first adult poem. I remember this because it was the last day of winter, and unusually warm. The poem was about a new crush after a long relationship had ended. I’m sure it would be highly embarrassing to look at now, not least of all because the crush in question went resolutely nowhere, but somehow the metaphor of unexpected spring seemed to fit the moment well. I suppose that, all cliches aside, it did.

I went on to write several poems about spring, but have not done so for some time. I became a little more ambivalent towards spring over the last few years. It seemed to draw me reluctantly out of my winter hibernation, when I, like an unsettled hermit, would much rather be left alone.

This spring is different. Much in my life is changing, and though I do not know where any of it will lead, I am slowly learning what it is to trust the God who orders all the seasons alike and purposes love through them all. Today’s poem looks at this idea. I hope you enjoy it.

And to those living in the southern hemisphere, happy last day of winter.

The Week of the Cherry Blossoms

Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us…

(T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land)

And it will surprise us, this week out of nowhere,
Grey mornings and overcast noons replaced
With this unexpectedness of pink

Blossoms bespeckling trees fresh from winter,
A shower of tenderness covering limbs,
Pianissimo moment in spring’s overture,

The redness of leaves soon to take August’s place,
This week just one window of delicate peace,
After winter’s refuge from sunbeams.

No fear; the sun cannot harm us by day, nor
New growth take us where we would rather avoid:
The seasons work, hands held, together,

Guided by logic and purpose and love,
Not arousing or waking what’s better asleep
But harvesting hope as it springs.

Joy in Each Season (After Christina Rossetti’s “The One Certainty”)

Christina Rossetti wrote many sonnets, most of them very compelling. This poem is based on one of her more shocking sonnets, one inspired by the book of Ecclesiastes. You can read the original poem here. I have used Rossetti’s poem as my basis, but have tried to inject a bit more hope into its resolution. 
 
Joy in Each Season (After “The One Certainty”)
 
One thing is sure: that underneath this sun
There is no new thing; age and age pass by;
The eye and ear are never satisfied
And every day ends like it has begun.
Tossed back and forth by blowing wind, we run
And gambol in the passing joy, yet sigh,
Caught in between the question and reply,
Tomorrow nothing new, today near done.
All this the Preacher saw and tells us now;
His findings – unresolved, vague – churn within.
Yet there is nothing better, he declares,
Than finding grateful joy in each affair,
Each orbit of this earth, each time therein,
And stand before our God, words few, and bow.