I. Only now, in spring, can the place be named: tulip poplar, daffodil, crab apple, dogwood, budding pink-green, white-green, yellow on my knowing. All winter I was lost. Fall, I found myself here, with no texture my fingers know. Then, worse, the white longing that downed us deep three months. No flower heat. That was winter. But now, in spring, the buds flock our trees. Ten million exquisite buds, tiny and loud, flaring their petalled wings, bellowing from ashen branches vibrant keys, the chords of spring’s triumph: fisted heart, dogwood; grail, poplar; wine spray, crab apple. The song is drink, is color. Come. Now. Taste.
II. The song is drink, is color. Come now, taste what the world has to offer. When you eat you will know that music comes in guises— bold of crepe myrtle, sweet of daffodil— beyond sound, guises they never told you could be true. And they aren’t. Except they are so real now, this spring, you know them, taste them. Green as kale, the songs of spring, bright as wine, the music. Faces of this season grin with clobbering wantonness—see the smiles open on each branch?—until you, too, smile. Wide carnival of color, carnival of scent. We’re all lurching down streets, drunk now from the poplar’s grail. Wine spray: crab apple.
III. From the poplar’s grail, wine spray. Crab apple brightens jealously to compete. But by the crab apple’s deep stain, the tulip tree learns modesty. Only blush, poplar learns, lightly. Never burn such a dark-hued fire to the core. Tulip poplar wants herself light under leaf, never, like crab apple, heavy under tart fruit. Never laden. So the poplar pours just a hint of wine in her cup, while the crab apple, wild one, acts as if her body were a fountain. She would pour wine onto you, just let her. Shameless, she plants herself, and delivers, down anyone’s street, bright invitations.
IV. Down anyone’s street-bright invitations. Suck ‘em. Swallow ‘em. Eat them whole. That’s right, be greedy about it. The brightness calls and you follow because you want to taste, because you want to be welcomed inside the code of that color: red for thirst; green for hunger; pink, a kiss; and white, stain me now. Soil me with touching. Is that right? No? That’s not, you say, what you meant. Not what you meant at all? Pardon. Excuse me, please. Your hand was reaching, tugging at this shirt of flowers and I thought, I guess I thought you were hungry for something beautiful. Come now. The brightness here might fill you up.
V. Come. Now the brightness here might fill you up, but tomorrow? Who can know what the next day will bring. It is like that, here, in spring. Four days ago, the dogwood was a fist in protest. Now look. Even she unfurls to the pleasure of the season. Don’t be ashamed of yourself. Don’t be. This happens to us all. We have thrown back the blanket. We’re naked and we’ve grown to love ourselves. I tell you, do not be ashamed. Who is more wanton than the dancing crepe myrtle? Is she ashamed? Why, even the dogwood, that righteous tree of God’s, is full of lust exploding into brightness every spring.
VI. Exploding into brightness every spring, I draw you close. I wonder, do you know how long I’ve wanted to be here? Each year you grasp me, lift me, carry me inside. Glee is the body of the daffodil reaching tubed fingers through the day, feeling her own trumpeted passion choiring air with hot, colored song. This is a texture I love. This is life. And, too, you love me, inhale my whole being every spring. Gone winter, heavy clod whose icy body fell into my bed. I must leave you, but I’ll wait through heat, fall, freeze to hear you cry: Daffodils are up. My God, what beauty!
VII. Daffodils are up, my God! What beauty concerted down on us last night. And if I sleep again, I’ll wake to a louder blossoming, the symphony smashing down hothouse walls, and into the world: music. Something like the birds’ return, each morning’s crescendo rising toward its brightest pitch, colors unfurling, petals alluring. The song, the color, the rising ecstasy of spring. My God. This beauty. This, this is what I’ve hoped for. All my life is here in the unnamed core—dogwood, daffodil, tulip poplar, crab apple, crepe myrtle— only now, in spring, can the place be named.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."