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"Shy Budlets Peep from Twigs on Trees"

13 March 2011

                                                            Cersis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’

MARCH

The sun is nervous
   As a kite
That can’t quite keep
   Its own string tight.

Some days are fair, 
   And some are raw.
The timid earth
   Decides to thaw.

Shy budlets peep
   From twigs on trees,
And robins join
   The chickadees.

Pale crocuses
   Poke through the ground
Like noses come 
   To sniff around.

The mud smells happy
   On our shoes.
We still wear mittens, 
   Which we lose.

John Updike in A Child’s Calendar (1965)

Updike composed a poem for each month that captured the essence of the changing seasons. We lived on East Street in Ipswich, Massachusetts when our children were young; across the street from where Updike had lived. We wrote to him about these poems. Updike kindly wrote back to my son, Andy:

Thank you for your nice letter about the poems of A Child’s Calendar. I’m glad you like them. My family and I were living at 26 East Street in the period I wrote them, but in fact during that exact time we were in France, living in a town called Antibes.  I wrote a poem a day for twelve days and hope now that the poems don’t seem too old-fashioned to you and your parents.

I prefer the charm of the first edition, published in 1965. A new edition in 1999 updated the text for modern readers. Differences between the two editions are discussed here. Used copies of both editions can be purchased at abebooks.com 

The Eastern Redbud pictured above is the design anchor of our front yard. The garden and our home’s exterior/interior colors echo the seasonal colors of Cersis canadensis 'Forest Pansy.’ For more images of this four season tree, follow the link to Google images.

Enjoy your spring whenever it comes, wherever you are.

This post is a gift to my New England friends Betsy, Linda, Meredith, Marnie and Jeanne who are artists and wordsmiths.

Elegant Clarkia

Seasonal Harvest