Poetry: Springtime toward the summer isle

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The summer wind came in too early this year and nearly caused Michigan a great deal of grief with the threat of tornadoes. Cold meets the hot and we’re a no-go around here. Yet, for one brief moment, we felt spring winds and warmth through the rain; it’s a pleasant feeling as Jack Frost has had no pity for the winter folk.

Hopefulness is an every year thing in my household. Hopefulness is everything always.

Poet Claude McKay writes in “After the Winter”:

“Some day, when trees have shed their leaves / and against the morning’s white / The shivering birds beneath the eaves / Have sheltered for the light / we’ll turn our faces southward, love, Toward the summer isle.”

With great effort, Michigan shook the cold off its back and is now enjoying warmer days (if only by a few degrees), so right now is a great time to open a book of springtime poetry for a much needed break from the winter winds. The rain is reaching for the deep earth, I think, and bringing back the luster and life.

McKay continues in his poem: “Where bamboos spire the shafted grove / And wide-mouthed orchids smile. / And we will seek the quiet hill / Where the towers the cotton tree.”

Life comes back to us in many ways and the flowers bloom, and McKay tells it us that it’s time again to remark upon the “”laughing crystal rill” and the “droning bee.”

In view of this, poetry guides us with metaphor and symbolism, and masters of the craft can make reality bend—blind love becomes venomous hate, songbirds become portentous harbingers, and blossoming trees become haunted abodes for ghastly spirits. Sometimes the reality is as simple as winter becoming spring; and those poems are just as lovely as the others.

I don’t know what McKay means exactly with this poem, but I like to think he isn’t just talking about spring coming again, but rather a new chance at life, as he builds a “cottage there” on the hill “beside an open glade” that is adorned with “black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near / And ferns that never fade.”

If you are looking for a new start–or if you just want some warmer weather–this is a good time of the year for a renewal of mind and spirit.

Works cited

McKay, Claude. “After the winter.” Poetry Foundation. Web.