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Spring at Once
Gilbert Allen

A few days of daffodils, forsythia
tentatively yellow and then
eighty degrees in March!
The peonies stretch six inches
in two days, the first movement
in a sudden symphony
of color—the blue piccolos
of periwinkle, then the deeper
notes of Formosa azaleas
and saucer magnolias, joined by the green
rhythm of basswoods, all scribbled on scores
of white dogwoods, apricots,
cherries, everything that was programmed
for April. Only the oaks remain
at rest, their long strings open
to the sun, knowing that one good
frost could bring the whole place down.
Maybe, maybe not we say
just before bedtime as each window darkens
and the last one fills with
Leipzig, Krakow, Vilnius, all
still frozen except for the flowers
of faces suddenly open
to hope, fear, over the blinding
fire of dawn snow.
From Commandments at Eleven (Orchises, 1994).
Used with the author’s permission.

Gilbert Allen lives in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, with his wife, Barbara. They both enjoy gardening on three acres of land on the western slope of Paris Mountain. Gilbert has published five collections of verse and teaches at Furman University, where he is the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature. Learn more about him here.




Post New Comment:
I like this a lot. Thanks for it.
Posted 03/26/2012 02:21 PM
Sharon Urdahl:
Beautifully written...a great visual and a lovely reminder of the hope in the bleakness of winter. Sharon Urdahl
Posted 03/26/2012 10:43 AM
A visual symphony shifting to implications of horror. Well done! Phyllis Wax
Posted 03/25/2012 01:35 PM
Glen Sorestad:
I love those blue piccolos of periwinkles, Gil. Wonderful details!
Posted 03/25/2012 10:18 AM
Gil Allen is has done it again--starting with the lovely mundane and discovering anew the profound depths of the human condition.
Posted 03/25/2012 07:22 AM
Perfect, as we sniff perfume from the premature hyacinths.
Posted 03/25/2012 05:39 AM

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