Some poems, like some stories, immediately seem to be about us. Others, perhaps the better ones, grant us access to experience or feeling or beauty we hadn’t seen before, hadn’t even known was worth describing.
Last Spring—the Gottfried Benn poem—made so much sense to me when I first read it, last spring, I couldn’t tell if it would mean much to someone else.
The lilacs are anemic here in California, and, as far as I can tell, forsythias are non-existant. Roses bloom relentlessly, if not quite ceaselessly. Spring starts seconds after the rains begin, there is always something flowering and even when it has been bone dry for years there is strong color. In New England, land of my youth, scrubby brilliant yellow forsythias are the first hedge of saturated color ending winter’s Whistler grays and whites. Then the lilacs, as it warms up, with their short fragrent moment.
I discovered Mary Carlson is the act of responding to spring with flowers, she glazes them—if you visit www.mary-carlson.com you will see what they look like with color—and they become seedier, sadder, more doubtful of life.