Barbara Crooker, Spring

Barbara Crooker

Right now, just before green,
there’s a blush on the branches
as buds flush out red, and April
holds her breath, not sure
if she wants to open the door.
The budget isn’t balanced;
we teeter from crisis
to crisis. But the finches
are in their yellow slickers,
flitting from twig to twig,
and the bees are humming
quietly to themselves. The buzz
is, it’s happening, whether
we’re ready, or not. So strip
off your sweater. Polish
your patent leather shoes.
Butter yourself with the sun.

Author’s Comment: These two poems come from my usual way of working, which is to pay close attention to what’s around me (even the thatch of dead leaves, even the grit from the salt truck.). And what isn’t, the dead, all the ones I’m missing. Claude Monet, the painter, said that there were only two things he knew how to do, gardening and painting, and if you substitute writing for painting, then that’s me. There’s nothing better than getting your hands dirty, or getting a poem “right.”

Bio: Barbara Crooker’s fourth poetry collection is Gold (Cascade Books). Her numerous awards include the Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, the Word Press First Book Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. She lives and writes in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, where she occasionally leads writing workshops.


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