Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Coming Spring

The infamous 30 foot bear poem. Or one of them, at least. This is from February as mentioned in the poem, and it was written as a challenge. A group of us were out for S's birthday in January, and this friend of hers kept talking about how there used be to 30 foot bears. For some reason, we all found it very amusing, and S ended up challenging a bunch of people to write poems about 30 foot bears. This is mine.

The Coming Spring

If the slowly falling days of August
Are like a dog, all lethargy and lolling
Tongue, then these lengthening days
Of February are like a thirty foot bear
Hibernating to survive the cold, bristling
Claws and teeth and frozen fur. Adapted so well
To the ice age, those mountains who moved,
Impenetrable fortresses of fur and fangs,
The massive flow of blood keeping them warm
While they slept, a furnace humming in their breast.
Too big, too hot, the bears were to survive
A world growing warmer. These February days
Drudge on, each one longer and more unbearable,
Daylight dragging itself out, stretched thin
Over brittle bones, unwilling to fade and let us
Lock ourselves inside another night. The light
Sky compels me to action, but it is too cold to move.

We walk to dinner through a deluge of snow,
Flakes large as the dinner plates of fairies,
A shower that drenches our coats, legs, heads
With heavy wet flakes that would rather be rain.
The sidewalk is slick and I am tempted
To lose my footing on purpose to give you
An excuse to catch my arm. We both need it,
That excuse. I don’t slip. It is easier to keep
My own footing than trust you to catch me. I would
Have made a good bear, I think, self sufficient
And imposing, capable of sleeping through winter
And ignoring the storms around me. We stop
At the corner, I glance at you, blinking snowflakes
From my lashes, the streetlight haloing everything
With gold. The light changes and you offer me
Your arm as we step off the sidewalk. I don’t know
What to do.

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