Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sestina at 20

Make ready for the coming of the spring!
Away with all those memories of pain!
A world begins where few thoughts are final.
Through rayed blue skies the shining seagulls plunge
Suddenly, as if to halt a crisis
Wherein the land thickens with strange green growth.

Patches of earth, so long unused to growth,
Are now faced with the happy threat of spring:
A sweet disturbance and a welcome crisis,
A dangerous thrill, a pleasurable pain.
Green stems soar into light; careful roots plunge
Fingers into darkness whose face is final.

Winter had a way of seeming final,
Excluding possibilities of growth.
Snowflakes fell; the mercury took its plunge.
We waited for the necessary spring
To melt the brace of icy pain
Which placed our hearts in subzero crisis.

In each new weather, twittering in crisis,
Brisk sparrows gather in trees that are final
On branches that tremble in frequent pain.
We hear crisp notes, exclamations of growth --
How do we take the temperature of spring?
How deeply into subsoil must we plunge?

Answer: We deal in surfaces, no plunge
Involved in calculating our crisis.
It is spring when the wind says it is spring;
The sentence of our skin and pulse is final.
We know we have achieved our sought-for growth
In the smooth scour of sunlight when our pain

Of winter changes into sweeter pain.
Love menaces us and we take the plunge;
We gamble on joy's exponential growth,
Oblivious of a round-the-corner crisis.
"But hope is endless, fear is never final,"
Hints the blunt dusk. We feel the sting of spring

And thus does spring remind us of our pain.
Summer makes it final. The brief nights plunge
Our blood into a crisis we call growth.