Once the city welcomed Winter with his frost-art
on the kitchen window,
his soft jewel snowflakes fallen on a dark sleeve.
The power in his breath set bare branches clashing
in a harsh percussion.
But we are fickle and now we search
at street corners for the green- haired boy
his cap trimmed with a bright feather.
Spring, you are late! Where are you hiding?
Again and again at the window as if waiting for a guest
who promised to come,
or for a beloved child who forgets,
carless over his game, careless of longing.
Late Spring, are you racing
down the great river that holds the island city captive
all the long bitter winter?
Sweep down with those great floes of ice that speed along
over the still untamed rapids.
Don’t you hear the songs of poor birds, your heralds
sitting high at the tops of leafless trees
to catch the first rays of sun?
Only when your soft breath
whispers secrets to a sleeping lilac
can they nest.
Come, we promise to prune the vine
and to sit out on the porch at noon.
We promise to drink tea outdoors, carefully placing chairs in the sun.
We promise to hang out washing on the line
and to praise snowdrops and crocuses
who dare in the little sheltered garden
to hear your singing voice.
Only come and we will turn to you.
Caress our hands and faces with kisses soft or rough.
You are late, but come at last and in one warm day
We will forgive your late coming!