Tuesday, February 16, 2010

le printemps

today feels a little like spring. there is a thaw in the air. one of my students came to class in flip flops. there are new smells in the air, smells that give a glimmer of sunshine to come, of flowers that are just now starting to stir in the tips of trees and bushes all around. i can't wait. today i bought tickets to france for spring break. still crossing my fingers this trip works out between visas and herding teens, etc. and then there is this poem, the first one in the second volume of collected works by mary oliver that someone just gave me. i love it.

North Country

by Mary Oliver

In the north country now it is spring and there
is a certain celebration. The thrush
has come home. He is shy and likes the
evening best, also the hour just before
morning; in that blue and gritty light he
climbs to his branch, or smoothly
sails there. It is okay to know only
one song if it is this one. Hear it
rise and fall; the very elements of your soul
shiver nicely. What would spring be
without it? Mostly frogs. But don't worry, he

arrives, year after year, humble and obedient
and gorgeous. You listen and you know
you could live a better life than you do, be
softer, kinder. And maybe this year you will
be able to do it. Hear how his voice
rises and falls. There is no way to be
sufficiently grateful for the gifts we are
given, no way to speak the Lord's name
often enough, though we do try, and

especially now, as that dappled breast
breathes in the pines and heaven's
windows in the north country, now spring has come,
are opened wide.

1 comment:

Eliza said...

That poem is a gem. Thank you for posting it. We are up to our ears in snow out East, but still, that poem will tide me over till we get our first whiff of spring.