March: A Birthday Poem
as yet unborn, the doctors nod,
that your first month shall be March,
of year I know by heart and like
about-I, too, was born in March.
like November a month largely unloved,
before April, who steals all shows
harlequinade of things renewed.
for that pastel fool’s approach,
fathers taunted March, called him Hlyd-monath,
the month is mild, and a murmurer.
after the Titian’s fall and shatter
March seems a silence.
finding February’s ruins
feet of March, heard his wind as boasting
his guilt with a war-god’s name.
some street in a cobbled sea-town
walls two huge boards thrust
two inns, so do the signs
the Fish and Aries the Ram
March. Depending on the day,
gem shall be the bloodstone
diamond, your lucky color crimson
You shall prove affable,
lucky in your friends, or not,
to the counterpoint of stars.
your business ventures, wear cravats,
not by the moon. If planting wheat,
at dawn. At dusk for barley. Let
transplant kohlrabi, leeks, and beans.
the month’s end, sow hardy annuals.
this month when Caesar fell, Stalin died,
In this month snowflakes melt-
last dry crusts that huddle by the barn.
and crocuses are hoisted up.
slap open. Dogs snuffle soggy leaves,
rusty repertoires of smells.
of March is the one that lies
shadow side of young tree trunks.
is no land of extremes. Dull as life,
small flowers and minor holidays.
stride sentry and hold our vision down,
underfoot the agony of roots
by earth. Much, much is opaque.
bluffs, wind cannot be gripped,
and crocuses are what they are.
child, it is far from a bad month,
its weight of compromise and hope.
as a monk, March shall be there
that day without a yesterday
and blind and blank, gulp the air.