April 3, 2013

A moose-enchanted day

Maine Sunset, 2009

April in Maine

by May Sarton

The days are cold and brown,
Brown fields, no sign of green,
Brown twigs, not even swelling,
And dirty snow in the woods.

But as the dark flows in
The tree frogs begin
Their shrill sweet singing,
And we lie on our beds
Through the ecstatic night,
Wide awake, cracked open.

There will be no going back.

My morning started with a little excitement!  I was snuggled under the covers, listening not to the shrill sweet singing of tree frogs as in the poem above, but to the soft whoo-hoos of 'my' owl.  When I got up and looked at the window, there he was--sitting on the wire right outside my window, huge and glorious and hooting at the sliver of moon hanging low in the sky.  It was a magical moment and I was thinking about yesterday's poem and how happiness can creep in unexpectedly, when a crow swooped across the back yard and the chase was on!  The owl swooped from the wire and his wing spread made me gasp--this guy is one big owl!  He chased the crow out of sight, so I don't know (and don't want to know!) the ending of this little morning drama.  I do know, however, that crows and owls are natural enemies, and we now have a murder of crows (is that not the coolest term ever?!) gathering in our pine trees.  They harass the owl by day, shrilly cawing near his nest, and Mr. Owl pushes back at night, patrolling our neighborhood sky.  After that bit of early morning drama, showering and getting ready for work was pretty anti-climactic!  

I'm having a lot of fun trying to decide what poems to offer this month during my celebration of National Poetry Month.  Last night I came across this book in my library and thought I would share a couple of May Sarton's poems with you today.  When my husband and I visited Maine a few years ago, I was browsing in a used book store when I came across this small book of poetry.  It's divided into three sections, "Letters from Maine," "A Winter Garland," and "Letters to Myself."  Her poems speak of love and the poetic vision left behind when a love affair ends, and also draw on the rich but sometimes harsh beauty of natureI can really relate today to the poem above, April in Maine, because right now April in Wisconsin is behaving much the same--cold and brown days, brown fields, and dirty snow!  But I love the ending of the poem and the almost mystical charm of her carefully chosen words...but as the dark flows in...through the ecstatic night....there will be no going back. 

I was not familiar with Sarton's poetry, and was delighted to discover this small book.  Maine is a wild and beautiful state and Sarton's nature poems, in particular, are so evocative of all nature has to offer 'up north.'

Somesville Bridge, Mt. Desert Island, Maine
And my delight was increased dramatically when I discovered this little gem of a poem, which fits so beautifully with one of my favorite family vacation photos.  This picture was taken @ 1970 during my family's visit in Yellowstone National Park, and shows my little brother and his new-found antlered friend.  It was a special time, and now such a special memory!  I hope you enjoy the poem as much as I have, and may we all experience a moose-enchanted day!

Moose in the Morning
by May Sarton
Oh wild and gentle beast,
Immense antlered shape,
This morning in the meadow!
Like something ancient, lost
And found now, promise kept,
Emerging from the shadow,
Emerging while I slept—
Wilderness and escape!
You set me free to shirk
The day's demanding work
And cast my guilt away.
You make a truant of me
This moose-enchanted day
When all I can is see,
When all I am is this
Astonishment and bliss.

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