"The Path of Spring"
If January has a heart,
Slow-turning Venus plays that part:
Ascending in the West,
Night-bound, in silver masquerade,
Through arctic skies as green as jade,
She holds a glass to what the mind loves best.
Enraptured by that mirror-beam,
The stricken watcher can redeem
One chance at evening prayer:
One brittle ticket, to unfold
Words desperate from dearth and cold:
White garlands hanging in the dry blue air.
They fall, and freeze, and find their way
To branches bright with frozen spray,
There, on the apple tree
That leans above the water's edge
As witness to each solemn pledge:
Passion with patience and fidelity.
Passion with patience and fidelity,
Towards all the trappings of worldly vanity;
A quest for hollow pride:
Icicles hang there, sword on sword,
Blindness and dazzlement, the young girl's reward;
Cold, cold comfort by the warm fireside.
Distorted by some evil elf,
The star grows mirror to the Self
With room for one alone —
And there — within the sunless waste,
Bereft by choices made in haste,
Wanders the one she might have called her own!
And although the knight may stumble and drown,
Venus is bright, and looks lovingly down
Into the frozen wood,
As the pale souls flutter, just where the stream narrows,
Pointing fingers of blame, instead of sweet arrows
At the empty space where the wish-maker stood.
And the garlanded lads and lasses are gone,
Yet Venus marks out their old path on the lawn
With her eternal wheel,
As if her sympathy might restore
The blue eyed, rosy-cheeked angels that pour
From each cottage door, where the round and the reel
Carried the dancers into the glade
Where the spring heat marries the flickering shade
To fronds of the maidenhair;
And a wind goes whispering into the ferns
While the white sun kisses as much as it burns
Cool skin, in the strangeness of forest air.
For the votives of Venus down in the dale
Felt the fire and chaos behind her veil
Of pale and placid light,
When simplicity knew that the soul is a nest
That dies in silence, alone and at rest,
And lives through the loves that fledge into flight.
Turner of hearts, where are you now?
Rocking the cradle that bends the bough
On our forgotten farms,
So the great and the simple will understand:
Those who cherish their children will win the land,
And cradles are a treasury of arms!
Some April thunder yet unsung
Will grant the legions of the young
Love's arrow-shaft and flame,
And in the glow of Love's increase,
The dove whose victory is Peace
Nestles where Mother is a holy name.
Before they hear a bluebird sing,
Before the early green of spring
Paints what the sun makes warm,
Oh, Venus Verticordia,
With violet and primula,
Open them to the storm,
And turn hearts like pinwheels in the hands of a child
Seeking a hilltop where the wind is wild.
© 2007 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be copied or used in any way without written permission from the author.