Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SPRING NOTES FROM ROBIN HILL, by HAYDEN CARRUTH

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SPRING NOTES FROM ROBIN HILL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: 200,000 rhododendron blossoms I estimate
Last Line: On the bottom
Subject(s): Flowers; Spring

200,000 rhododendron blossoms I estimate
By multiplying the number seen
Through one pane of the "colonial" windowglass.
And I had wanted to show Rose Marie
A hummingbird, a most un-Silesian
Apparition: so she assures me.
Certainly one will come soon, I said.
Now the petals are almost gone,
Blown away like thoughts not written down,
And no hummingbird has visited us.
Probably they are becoming extinct.

The birches in front of the cottage
Bow like lissom queens at the emperor's court.
To whom?
To me naturally.

My German is awful, nine words mispronounced.
But a splendid language for bellowing.
When I find Tanio snoozing in a coil
Among my manuscripts, "Herauf!"
I proclaim, striking the air with my
Finger, "Herein, mein Herr Schlaffener!"
Nothing whatever happens. Tanio opens
One eye. "Katze, was fur hast du
Eine Attituden so gestinken!"

Two lesbians live on the far hill
And keep the most beautiful garden in town.
Hyacinth and lily-of-the-valley.

Brother Marcus, make something out of that.

Once we went walking in Tobey Woods
Leaving three loaves to bake in the oven,
And when we returned later than we had planned
The smell reached us some distance away.
"Oh -- oh -- my breads!" Rose Marie wailed.
"Ruined!" She fluttered her arms like a
Fledgling and hopped for home, clumsy
With the potbelly of her seventh month.

Not ruined at all, just good and firm
On the bottom.

Fierce storms this season. Tornado warnings
From the weather bureau, and a sure-enough tornado
In Waterbury; many wild storms in the hills.
One day lightning struck our weathervane,
Busted the cupola, scattered slates every
Whichway, split a rafter, blew out the radio,
Entered the plumbing, and knocked hell out of
The curb box, making a pretty fair geyser.
Scared? Not me, I'd just had too many strawberries.
Rose Marie says I must make an appointment
With the Rev. Hebard right away, to be
Baptized before anything more happens.
I'm not much on theology, but I bet
It's not that at all. It's those bombs
They keep exploding out there on the ocean.

A night in June. A new moon. Really,
On occasion the harmonies of the soul
Are too much.
Rose Marie walks under
The birches, and like them bending
Curtsies three times to the crescent
In thanks for a good conception, asking
That our child be beautiful and welcome.
So her mother had done before her
In a snowfield by the gray Oder, so
Her centuries-old grandmother had done
In the brown night of the Wendish forest.

Well, if it worked then, why not now?

to be a child of history?

Determined by that tale of
dutiful bloodletting?

However, let me speak now quietly
without declamation
for I see
A fearsome thing will happen
to my people --
Some lying at Concord or Shiloh
or in France
and some others
Having also caught the grave-fever
like cadavers well pleased
and eyelessly rejoicing
in death.

See how they grow talons and
lynx-tufted ears
-- my people
red-lidded in the night!

But Rose Marie was born on a
crook of the Oder contested by
three nations for three centuries
And she has the gentleness of the
wood thrush in the cedar tree
and no bitterness
though they
drove her with pointed guns
on the keen snowcrust.

In this cottage my history is --
and my nation.
Quietly, quietly
but with resolution
I will have no other.

Solomon's Seal and Adder's Tongue,
Five-leaves, Columbine, Whitlow-grass,
The misty Maianthemum canadense,
Indian Cucumber-root and Bluet,
Saxifrage, Foamflower, Sweet Cicely,
Trailing Arbutus, Fumitory,
Wakerobin and the lovely Trillium
Undulatum and the Lady's Slipper,
Marsh Marigold, Bloodroot, Jacob's Ladder,
Bitter Cress, Toothwort, small Coltsfoot,
The Wayfaring Tree and the Horse Gentian,
My gracious, delicate Trientalis,
Rose Marie's honest Partridgeberry --
And boo to you, Tom, Dick, and Harry.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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