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“Seems the wrack of not living up to/meeting spring (much less National Poetry Month) is a recurrent theme for me. This is last April’s version/stunted bud. I think of it as a little Hopkinsesque, but it was in fact inspired/shaped by Donne’s discontent, that of the spring of 1608(!), (after the king dashed his hopes of getting a state job). Perhaps the part of the tradition I feel closest to...”

—Olena Kalytiak Davis


Olena Kalytiak Davis, 1963

The dark wood after the dark wood: the cold 
after cold in April's false November.
In that second worser place: more gone, less there,
but in that lurid present present, cast and held, 

rooted, kept, like some old false-berried yew. 
Just against; the door leading to preferment 
shut; no longer believing in still, by some, few
means, method, could be, but for the bad day set, 

left, leaning atop bad day. 
							Out- and un-

ranked, toothached, wronged— rankled corruptive thing!
Ill-wishing, in-iquitous, clipped, up-hoped, stripped: just plain: thin.
Dare thy commit: commit this final fatal sin: 
God my God, I am displeased by spring.

Copyright © 2014 by Olena Kalytiak Davis. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 9, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Olena Kalytiak Davis

Olena Kalytiak Davis

A first-generation Ukrainian-American, Olena Kalytiak Davis was selected by Rita Dove for the 1997 Brittingham Prize for her debut collection And Her Soul Out of Nothing.

by this poet

Maybe we you us
But not everyone except
Everyone else seemingly set
One could romanticize the shipbells
Out of somebody else's grocery, sex shopping, life cleaning, bills 
Of sail. When they had fresh grapefruit it was nothing like you not having
Scurvy, with or without the vodka. Your friends 
Did they still

O my Love sent me a lusty list,
Did not compare me to a summer's day
Wrote not the beauty of mine eyes
But catalogued in a pretty detailed
And comprehensive way the way(s)
In which he was better than me.
"More capable of extra- and inter-
Polation. More well-traveled -rounded