The purple berries of Trilliums
would be most welcome in
this ghostly gray cold.
Salt marsh dreams of rose mallows:
hairy stems gaily brushing your legs
in their scarlet way
coddle the frozen senses back to life.
Blue-eyed grass, star-like, borne atop
slender stems in moist meadows speaks
of open spaces we must seek
lest we leave our souls hibernate
Don't disdain the weak, reclining
stems of the common chickweed
whose flesh transforms
into a feast for songbirds.
Who would announce The Return
if chickweeds didn't make the sacrifice?
Along shaded roadsides and in rich woods,
keep eyes open for the Bloodroot; it knows
about the dark: clear white petals fold
in evening as even now,
on the verge of light, our hearts
are tight yet ready to yield.
Like the arbutus, scarce from careless picking,
hope appears before these bitter winds
get the better of us. Tough creepers,
evergreen leaves, urgently pollinated
by ravenous bees -- sting as sweet as wing's caress --
their spicy fragrance wafts free early enough
to wake the sleepers from winter's grave,
to live another day and taste in spring
(yes, it will come)
the violet-blue tonic of Fringed Gentian,
its vase-like self so difficult to cultivate,
so worth the wait.
Arlene Gay Levine
First published in Free Spirit Magazine