Under the Willows [May is a pious fraud of the almanac]

James Russell Lowell

 
May is a pious fraud of the almanac,
A ghastly parody of real Spring
Shaped out of snow and breathed with eastern wind;
Or if, o'er-confident, she trust the date,
And, with her handful of anemones,
Herself as shivery, steal into the sun,
The season need but turn his hourglass round,
And Winter suddenly, like crazy Lear,
Reels back, and brings the dead May in his arms,
Her budding breasts and wan dislustred front
With frosty streaks and drifts of his white beard
All overblown. Then, warmly walled with books,
While my wood-fire supplies the sun's defect,
Whispering old forest-sagas in its dreams,
I take my May down from the happy shelf
Where perch the world's rare song-birds in a row,
Waiting my choice to open with full breast,
And beg an alms of springtime, ne'er denied
Indoors by vernal Chaucer, whose fresh woods
Throb thick with merle and mavis all the year.
 

Poems by This Author

from The Vision of Sir Launfal by James Russell Lowell
And what is so rare as a day in June?
The First Snowfall by James Russell Lowell
The snow had begun in the gloaming,
The Present Crisis by James Russell Lowell
Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide
The Sirens by James Russell Lowell
The sea is lonely, the sea is dreary


Further Reading

Spring
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
by James Wright
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 García 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
Spring
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Spring
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
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 love noise and all [excerpt]
by David Antin
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
Thinking of Madame Bovary
by Jane Kenyon
Two Sewing
by Hazel Hall
Vernal Equinox
by Amy Lowell
[O were my love yon Lilac fair]
by Robert Burns