Thursday Poem

Sweet Early Spring

When the understory of the woods
is flattened
and you can see the contours
of the earth,
the rock out-croppings—all this
just after the
last pockets of snow disappear,
while everything
is still sere, brown, gray—when
now and then
a woodcock whistles or you can hear
a lone goose
going somewhere—all this, this sweet
early spring—
with no bugs at all, none, not a single one—
clear, beautiful and brief moment,
this emptiness—
this is the time
I love the best—
before the world fills up again with
insects, leaves,
brush, birds, green, a last brief rest—
quiet and peace—
before I have to turn and face
the lush and fertile,
noisy spring.

by David Budbill
from Happy Life,
forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press,
September 2011