These were the days I would
run like tree sap, uncontrolled
by any man’s order. Not even my own.
A seasonal shade of masculinity
drip-drip-dripping from me
like tears at a funeral,
freeing my joints and tongue
in a low-gravity dance
with the baseless hope one feels
at 0-0 before the first pitch.
And, before you know it,
after a few scoring opportunities
got turned away, I’d be down
Spring to Nothing. Life throwing
a shut-out at the guy who still
misreads the rules. Always thought
’twas Spring hopes eternal,
not some other way ‘round.
Too true for it to be fictionalized. What is it they used to say? Oh yeah, “It happens every Spring.” Still.
The sky still looks as big as December’s,
as I sit within this big circle of pines.
Miserly maples and oaks and big-leaf trees
still clutch Spring in their tiny fists.
The mate-baiting robins find scant hiding places
within the space between branches,
their vermillion breasts puffing up
and glowing in the sun as if they’re
retouched photos on a computer dating site.
But soon enough, this will all close in,
when the leaves come out to play in the sun,
forming a vernal wreath framing the cul de sac.
Perhaps by then I’ll be able to see it all
from the opposite side of this infernal window
framing the space outside these four walls,
here where life goes on, here where
I count it in the click of these remaining seconds,
not the tweeted beats of robins’ forever songs.
But still, it’s life.
Day 2 of April’s poem-a-day quest: a “space” poem. I don’t think this is what they expected, but that’s how I roll.
The Winter snow is gone, but
the trees still hold Spring
in their fists, as if unwilling
to give up tomorrows
for the chilling prospects of today.
But I still see leaves, some lying
in corners, pasted together
by tears Winter held back.
Others, scoot like squirrels
in the March breeze, trailing
the shadows of seasons past,
before this doleful year when
so many, like autumn leaves,
fall away by the thousands
yet die alone. Maybe tomorrow,
the trees will open their fists,
extending new life on their limbs.
I know groves, though, where
too many others can’t reach back.
Down the hill Winter bleeds unabated,
leaving behind the wounds we couldn’t see.
With all the trees gone I guess we’re fated
to find a pond where a pond shouldn’t be.
The ground’s still frozen ‘neath its epidermis,
so there’s nowhere but down the hill to go.
Up on top is where the earth’s the firmest,
but down here we’ve an inch of melted snow.
It’s nothing new, just how it goes come Spring
or whatever passes for that these days.
Lately you never know what March will bring,
another blizzard or mid-Summer haze.
It could end up the latter or former,
even both, since we’ve made Earth so much warmer.
If you want to argue or troll, find another poet. I’m too old, too sick, too tired and too sad to get in a pissing match about this.
Winter is creeping
off with Spring today,
slowly nibbled away
by a Sun that knows
an angle (and temperature)
greater than 32 degrees.
You can hear it ebbing away
in heartbeat drips
down the waterspout
from the gutters.
Tock, tock, tock…
The sun is granting
early release from
snow’s grip on the yard,
providing enough heat
for them to flex space
around their plaintive reaches.
Invisible robins are providing
vocals atop the beat
from the gutters and
the wind sounds different,
with its Southern accent.
Bluebirds flit among
the maples’ red buds,
waiting for them to go off
like vernal fireworks.
And I sit and wait,
for what I don’t know, but
listening with hopeful heart.
Tock, tock, tock…
Photo © Joseph Hesch 2018
Photo © Joseph Hesch 2019
The hawk traces lazy eights
across the high clouds and distant blue.
You wonder how he keeps warm up there
when it’s single digits down here
on the white blanket ground.
Then a flash of blue stretches
flat waves across the road,
hanging azure bunting on hooks of air.
The jay finishes it’s celebratory decoration,
nailing it to an oak with both feet.
His obsidian-eyed stare declares
he’s still master of this level of the sky.
But a softer shade of blue
catches my eye at the top
of the red maple guarding my lawn.
Upon this bluebird’s chest he wears
a shield of look-at-me vermillion
and he sings in low-pitched triplets
of tu-a-wee tu-a-wee. I don’t speak
bluebird, but I think he’s singing a hymn
about Spring’s waiting like dimes
in the maple’s childlike bud fists
to drop into some March Sunday’s
The rain’s laying
its restorative hands
upon the lands
surrounding my old house.
Our long winter has left
this pillow upon which sets
my only treasure a scratched
and motley patch
of tan, brown and olive.
April’s poetic showers
have only just arrived,
with May a week away.
Poor May, tasked with
completing the work
of two months in its 31 days,
scurrying along April’s
grass shoots, the crocuses
and daffodils, as well as
nursing its own tulips and lilacs.
April’s cold and snowy sloth
has shifted its cruelty
just as an October would
in blowing its leaves
into November’s yard.
This is probably a make-up poem for Day #22 of this month, sliding into the gap caused by my trip to North Carolina. It was supposed to be a “plant” poem, which i guess you could say it is tangentially, but it turned into a mild screed on how this winter has stretched its frozen fingers into a whole lot of the calendar’s Spring. But Nature can’t tell time and that calendar page beginning with A is just more junk for me to rake up this weekend…if it stops raining. Story/poem coming up in a bit for Day #27.
The sun came out today like a bear from its winter cave, the air rushing to me fresher than yesterday and the days before that. For a moment or two, I wondered whether the weather had changed or I had. And I asked if you thought I was just another sap running freer in Spring, my coat open and without a hat? Maybe the Sun’s new angle past mere diagonal to the horizon blinded me to reality here at the third point of this seasonal triad?
“But you always get this way in the Spring,” I hear you say. “You get goofy and emotional and see the possibilities in things you want to see, here and there.” I have to admit, as I nod in grudging consent, there’s so much truth in what you’ve always told me, not only today. Then I smile, because, even through it all, deep down I guess you still kinda care.
And I look up to see your face smiling, but it’s in that cloud, up in the tree, in the puddles all around. “There you go again,” I hear, that unspoken tsk in your voice, though there’s no one but me here to make a sound.
Sorry for the delay, folks. I’ve been tied up with things other than writing for the past week. Actually, I was afraid it might be longer than that. Like forever. But I was inspired by a prompt from Julie Duffy at her Story-a-Day blog, which suggested trying to write a flash fiction story in the form of a sonnet. So this is my effort in Shakespearean sonnet form. Did you catch the (non iambic pentameter) abab cdcd ee rhyme scheme to the sentences?
The muted roll of a tympani
nudged me from my torpor,
as more of the rhythm section
rapped steadily upon the roof.
The wind sounded like strings
stroked long, given vibrato
by shivering maple leaves.
Lying there, I felt the musical
tension swell, as if waiting
for the conductor to signal
a note of resolution.
The house lights flickered, as if
announcing intermission’s end and
I’d yet to more than sip from
my nap time cocktail. With another
bass drum thrum, louder than before,
this audience of one at
at the window to enjoy
Spring’s orchestral finale
of this year’s residency.
Photo ©Joseph Hesch 2014
The heartbeat of Spring
taps on my roof and
the winds turn the trees
into a percussion section.
The band plays on.
As I lie here, I hear
my heart beat in time
with the rain, while
a Springtime cold turns
my breath into woodwinds.
And the band plays on.
Somewhere out in the rain,
a man with no roof,
the opening in the overpass
for a window, hums his anthem.
And his band plays on.
People rush past him
as if driven by wind,
an audience sensing only
its own music.
The band playing on and on.