Posted by: gdevi | April 29, 2013

The Dove in Spring

I spent all of Sunday cleaning the front yard and mowing it; the grass is already ankle-high. There was so much detritus from the fall and the winter. Amazing amount of leaves; I thought we had raked all the leaves before the snow. Apparently not. Spring is here in style–the forsythia bushes yellow like a Van Gogh landscape, the ground covered with dandelions and bachelor’s buttons, the rhododendrons and the azaleas in full bloom, daffodils, blue bonnets, yellow bonnets, and tulips up and showing, bees buzzing all over, the apple trees,  dogwood and roses sprouting their downy green spring leaves. In my flower bed, the beebalms, daisies, sedums, primroses, peonies, rudbeckias, lamb’s ear, phlox, foxgloves, hollyhocks have all come back. Good. I can’t wait to see you all bloom in a month’s time. Though April is spring time, May is that wonderful cusp between April and June–between Spring and Summer–when the flowers bloom.

I was thinking of this poem by Wallace Stevens the whole day while I was cleaning the yard. It is a sad poem, but a great poem. You know, it is hard to see a personal level to Wallace Stevens’s poems because of the masterliness of his style. You don’t think of him as a person at all when you read his poems. But, this poem, which is from one of Stevens’s last poems, written in his late seventies, is a poem about himself, but once again, you have to read carefully. If not, it is about the dove in spring, howling inside a wall. Someday, I would like to visit Stevens’s grave in Hartford.

The Dove in Spring

Brooder, brooder, deep beneath its walls–
A small howling of the dove
Makes something of the little there,

The little and the dark, and that
In which it is and that in which
It is established. There the dove

Makes this small howling, like a thought
That howls in the mind or like a man
Who keeps seeking out his identity

In that which is and is established…It howls
Of the great sizes of an outer bush
And the great misery of the doubt of it,

Of stripes of silver that are strips
Like slits across a space, a place
And state of being large and light.

There is this bubbling before the sun,
This howling at one’s ear, too far
For daylight and too near for sleep.

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