spring love noise and all [excerpt]

David Antin

 
            but i wondered what i would talk about      because
here in southern california youre never really sure when
spring begins      i mean the experience of spring      the
vernal equinox is one thing      but spring is something else
      and ive been living out here twenty years and i cant
always tell when its spring
                                    my guess is it comes on some time
in late february      and you hardly notice it      a few branch
  ends turn yellow a few wildflowers begin to sprout an
occasionally different bird appears      and you figure it
might as well be spring
            now thats a little different from springs i
remember where i came from      in the east when its spring
      boy are you ready for it      if you lived in new york
city or upstate new york about 130 miles north of the city
      the way you'd know spring was coming was that around the
end of march you'd hear rolls of thunder or cannonades that
  would mean the ice was breaking on the river you'd say gee
it must be spring the ice is breaking on the river      and it
was like a series of deep distant drum rolls
  brrrrrrrrrrmbrrrrrrrrrrrm      and you didn't feel much
better about it      because the sky was still gray and cold
and the trees were still bare
            in fact you felt better in january because the snow
seemed to keep you warm especially when the temperature got
down around zero and the snow was piled up around the house
and along the roadside      because after every snow the snow
  ploughs would clear out the road and pile up the snow along
the roadside into a wall from six to ten feet high that
would shield the houses from the wind and you'd shovel out a
pathway to the street      but inside it was warm      and pretty
  much everybody in this little town of north branch felt
insulated and warm and pretty good in january as long as the
  heating fuel held out      and they didn't feel too bad in
february either
            but when the spring came      in march      and you
heard the dull cannonade on the river      thats when you
started to feel bad      because it had been so cold and bare
and gray      and you had been holding out so long for the
wild mustard and the goldfinches      and maybe the coming of
the quince      that the sound coming off the river      that
  seemed to promise an entry into the land of the hearts
desire      which you knew would take another month at least
      made you feel real bad
            so thats why when the spring came to north branch at
the end of march      it seemed that every year two people would
hang themselves off their back porch      because they couldn't
  wait anymore
      but there was the other side of spring and you
expected great things of it      because you had read all those
marvelous sweet and jingling poems by those provençal
bullshitters waiting for spring to come so they could go out
into the fields and fuck and kill people      brash and noise
poems that went on as i remember something like "oh spring is
here the birds are singing lets go out and fight some
  battles and make it in the grass" in a cheerful jingling and
very overrated way
                             that my friend paul blackburn did the best
he could with      which was to bury the jingle and jazz up the
noise a bit      to make them sound a little bit like ezra
pound and a little bit like paul doing an east village macho
  number      and a lot better than they sound to my ears in
provençal      and with poetic generosity he covered up the
banality of their vocabulary and their tedious ideas if you
could call their attitudes ideas and it all sounded so
cheerful that we thought it must have been a good idea to sit
in toulouse and welcome the spring
            but dont you believe it      toulouse is a dreadful
place and nobody wants to be there      everyone in toulouse
would rather be in paris      so if you have a choice about
the spring you dont want to spend it in toulouse
                                                             paul actually
lived there for a while      and he was always running off to
paris or mallorca or to spain
            but wherever you are you are likely to have this
idea of what it means for spring to come      and you know how
it will come and when it will come      because in your
expectations it always comes      in a neat order the way
  seasons do      because there are exactly four of them and
they are very nicely named and there are exactly three months
in them and they very obediently follow the astronomical year
 
From what it means to be avant-garde. Copyright © 1993 by David Antin. Reprinted with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Poems by This Author

6th separation meditation by David Antin
it appears whole
the second hundred: for sid luft by David Antin
there are two sides to every story
the theory and practice of postmodernism — a manifesto [excerpt] by David Antin
about two years ago elly and i decided we needed a new mattress
what it means to be avant-garde [excerpt] by David Antin
and i was thinking about this while i was flying


Further Reading

Related Poems
Death, Is All
by Ana Božičević
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Endymion, Book I, [A thing of beauty is a joy for ever]
by John Keats
The Winter's Tale Act IV, Scene II [When daffodils begin to peer]
by William Shakespeare
A Blessing
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After dark vapors have oppress'd our plains
by John Keats
Alcove
by John Ashbery
Another Attempt at Rescue
by M. L. Smoker
Birds Again
by Jim Harrison
Black Petal
by Li-Young Lee
Butterfly Catcher
by Tina Cane
Chansons Innocentes: I
by E. E. Cummings
City That Does Not Sleep
by Federico Garcķa Lorca
Diary [Surface]
by Rachel Zucker
Each year
by Dora Malech
From you have I been absent in the spring... (Sonnet 98)
by William Shakespeare
Hustlers with Bad Timing
by D. A. Powell
If a Wilderness
by Carl Phillips
In cold spring air
by Reginald Gibbons
In the Memphis Airport
by Timothy Steele
Lines Written in Early Spring
by William Wordsworth
Magdalen Walks
by Oscar Wilde
Morning News
by Marilyn Hacker
National Poetry Month
by Elaine Equi
Papyrus
by Ezra Pound
Prologue of the Earthly Paradise
by William Morris
Song On May Morning
by John Milton
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by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Spring
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Spring and All [By the road to the contagious hospital]
by William Carlos Williams
Spring Day [Bath]
by Amy Lowell
Spring in New Hampshire
by Claude McKay
Spring is like a perhaps hand
by E. E. Cummings
Spring Snow
by Arthur Sze
Spring Song
by Sherwood Anderson
Spring Storm
by William Carlos Williams
Springing
by Marie Ponsot
The Enkindled Spring
by D. H. Lawrence
The Magpie's Shadow
by Yvor Winters
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by Jane Kenyon
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by Hazel Hall
Under the Willows [May is a pious fraud of the almanac]
by James Russell Lowell
Vernal Equinox
by Amy Lowell
[O were my love yon Lilac fair]
by Robert Burns
Poems About Winter
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [Blow, blow, thou winter wind]
by William Shakespeare
Love's Labour's Lost, Act V, Scene 2 [Winter]
by William Shakespeare
Snow-Bound [The sun that brief December day]
by John Greenleaf Whittier
A January Dandelion
by George Marion McClellan
A Winter Without Snow
by J. D. McClatchy
An Old Man's Winter Night
by Robert Frost
Approach of Winter
by William Carlos Williams
Fishing in Winter
by Ralph Burns
Footprint on Your Heart
by Gary Lenhart
Horoscope
by Maureen N. McLane
How like a winter hath my absence been (Sonnet 97)
by William Shakespeare
In drear nighted December
by John Keats
January
by Helen Hunt Jackson
Now Winter Nights Enlarge
by Thomas Campion
On Snow
by James Parton
Picture-books in Winter
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Places [III. Winter Sun]
by Sara Teasdale
Return to Winter
by Elaine Terranova
Spellbound
by Emily Brontė
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
The Magpie's Shadow
by Yvor Winters
The Snow Man
by Wallace Stevens
The Snow Storm
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Visionary
by Emily Brontė
There's a certain Slant of light (258)
by Emily Dickinson
To a Locomotive in Winter
by Walt Whitman
Toward the Winter Solstice
by Timothy Steele
Triad
by Adelaide Crapsey
Untitled [Toward night]
by Kevin Goodan
Why Is the Color of Snow?
by Brenda Shaughnessy
Winter
by Walter De La Mare
Winter Heavens
by George Meredith
Winter is good - his Hoar Delights (1316)
by Emily Dickinson
Winter Morning
by William Jay Smith
Winter Sleep
by Edith Matilda Thomas
Winter Study
by Mark Wunderlich
Winter Trees
by William Carlos Williams
Winter Twilight
by Anne Porter
Winter-Time
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Winter: My Secret.
by Christina Rossetti