I’ve had more conversations with people about robins singing in the last week than I have in my whole life. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a conversation about robins until this week. It’s warming up in the driftless region of Wisconsin, and the robin’s song is one of those signposts that points to the hope that spring is coming. It’s been a long winter, and even I can’t help but celebrate its retreat. So I wrote a poem. The first poem I’ve written in perhaps a decade, so be nice.
The Robin Sings
Crocus splits through crumbling cardboard earth,
So soft with snowfall, the runoff trickling through rusted grass.
It will turn with the weight of the sun.
The burn of clouds, the brush of hair on a forehead to peer
Beyond the hills. Farmhouses, the whinny of a horse.
I can hear the calling, but can’t see the weeks except
Through weather forecasts and mileage marks.
The place we’re going to, do you know it?
Wait. A finger raised, eyes closed.
Standing there on the front porch
Hand resting on the doorknob, can you hear it?
A rustle beneath the ground, the robin cuts through the frost
It begins when we’re sleeping,
This force that rotates, death, decay, life, renewal.
Green shoots emerge, weeds, daffodils, all manner of things.
Let’s go. We can make it there before nightfall.
And when all the world has come to life, we won’t remember
That one tiny flower, the war it wages, the petals that unfurl
In a nest of dry pine needles and leaves.
They’ll forget us, too,
On our way to some other transition.