March

Original Text: 
Seranus, In Northern Skies and Other Poems (Toronto: the author, 1912): 2-4. Internet Archive
1Here on the wide waste lands,
2Take--child--these trembling hands,
3Though my life be as blank and waste,
4My days as sorely ungraced
5By glimmer of green on the rim
6Of a sunless wilderness dim,
7As the wet fields barren and brown,
8As the fork of each sterile limb
9Shorn of its lustrous crown.
10See--how vacant and flat
11The landscape--empty and dull,
12Scared by an ominous lull
13Into a trance--we have sat
14This hour on the edge of a broken, a gray snake-fence,
15And nothing that lives has flown,
16Or crept, or leapt, or been blown
17To our feet or past our faces--
18So desolate, child--the place is!
19It strikes, does it not, a chill,
20Like that other upon the hill,
21We felt one bleak October?
22See--the gray wood still sober
23'Ere it be wild with glee,
24With growth, with an ecstasy
25Of fruition born of desire.
26The marigold's yellow fire
27Doth not yet in the sun burn to leap, to aspire;
28Its myriad spotted spears
30We cannot see
31Anemone,
33There doth not fly,
34Low under sky,
35One kingfisher dipping and darting
36From reedy shallows where reds are starting,
37Pale pink tips that shall burst into bloom,
38Not in one night's mid-April gloom.
39But inch by inch, till ripening tint,
40And feathery plume and emerald glint
41Proclaim the waters are open.
42All this will come,
43The panting hum
44Of the life that will stir,
45Glance and glide, and whistle and whir,
46Chatter and crow, and perch and pry,
47Crawl and leap and dart and fly,
48Things of feather and things of fur,
49Under the blue of an April sky.
50Shall speak, the dumb,
51Shall leap, the numb,
52All this will come,
53It never misses,
54Failure, yet--
55Never was set
56In the sure spring's calendar,
57Wherefore--Pet--
58Give me one of your springtime kisses!
59While you plant some hope in my cold man's breast--
60Ah! How welcome the strange flower-guest--
61Water it softly with maiden tears,
62Go to it early--and late--with fears;
63Guard it, and watch it, and give it time
64For the holy dews to moisten the rime--
65Make of it some green gracious thing,
66Such as the Heavens shall make of the Spring!

Notes

29] erythronium: spring-flowering perennial, dog's-tooth violet, with pendant flowers. Back to Line
32] hepatica: buttercup-like perennial. Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
First published in The Week as "Fleming: March."
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011
Form: