April 5, 1974
The air was soft, the ground still cold.
In the dull pasture where I strolled
Was something I could not believe.
Dead grass appeared to slide and heave,
Though still too frozen flat to stir,
And rocks to twitch, and all to blur.
What was this rippling of the land?
Was matter getting out of hand
And making free with natural law?
I stopped and blinked, and then I saw
A fact as eerie as a dream.
There was a subtle flood of steam
Moving upon the face of things.
It came from standing pools and springs
And what of snow was still around;
It came of winter’s giving ground
So that the freeze was coming out,
As when a set mind, blessed by doubt,
Relaxes into mother-wit.
Flowers, I said, will come of it.
When I first read this poem (Collected Poems 1943-2004, Harcourt Publishers) I was immediately transported to a day last spring when I walked across our fields and had a similar experience. I procrastinated but finally wrote to Mr. Wilbur who lives in a nearby hilltown, and asked his permission to use the poem. He graciously gave that permission – and mentioned that he plans to get a few leeks planted in the garden this spring — when the snow disappears and the rain is no longer puddling. I hope that at 89 I will also still be planting and writing.
The collection includes show lyrics like Oh, Happy We and Glitter and Be Gay from Candide, a collaboration with Lillian Hellman, and Leonard Berstein. There is also a section of wonderful Poems for Children and Others named Opposites. The collection is a complete joy. We are fortunate to live in an area with so many creative artists.
Carolyn gail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago gives us the opportunity to let the muses inspire us in a multitude of ways. Visit her blog and see how others are inspired.