Poetry: “Late February” by Ted Kooser

I just checked for the first day of spring (because I just have to know), and it’s in about four weeks. Just four weeks!

Sunday’s beautiful weather pushed me for a walk–because I love to stroll–and so in the premature spring I spent a good amount of time walking my usual route before returning home as the cold night set itself up in its usual jerky fashion. My emotional state went from miserable and miserly to merry and magnanimous. My spirit was lifted!

Today’s post is a little of that spirit in words, so hopefully you can enjoy the essence of spring as I had received it, walking along the river with a smile in my heart.

“Late February” by Ted Kooser

The first warm day,

and by mid-afternoon

the snow is no more

than a washing

strewn over the yards,

the bedding rolled in knots

and leaking water,

the white shirts lying

under the evergreens.

Through the heaviest drifts

rise autumn’s fallen

bicycles, small carnivals

of paint and chrome,

the Octopus

and Tilt-A-Whirl

beginning to turn

in the sun. Now children,

stiffened by winter

and dressed, somehow,

like old men, mutter

and bend to the work

of building dams.

But such a spring is brief;

by five o’clock

the chill of sundown,

darkness, the blue TVs

flashing like storms

in the picture windows,

the yards gone gray,

the wet dogs barking

at nothing. Far off

across the cornfields

staked for streets and sewers,

the body of a farmer

missing since fall

will show up

in his garden tomorrow,

as unexpected

as a tulip.