From a distance, the groves of hardwoods -- though the dark limbs of winter remain visible -- are now covered in a mist of light-green: not yet the deep-green of summer. "Nature's first green is gold . . ."
Richard Eurich (1903-1992), "Whitby in Wartime"
The following two poems are splendid arrival-of-spring poems. They capture wonderfully the coming out of hibernation feel of the first long days of the season. That sense of emerging from a winter burrow, eyes squinting and blinking, out into sunlight and color.
The Chinese Restaurant in Portrush
Before the first visitor comes the spring
Softening the sharp air of the coast
In time for the first 'invasion'.
Today the place is as it might have been,
Gentle and almost hospitable. A girl
Strides past the Northern Counties Hotel,
Light-footed, swinging a book-bag,
And the doors that were shut all winter
Against the north wind and the sea mist
Lie open to the street, where one
By one the gulls go window-shopping
And an old wolfhound dozes in the sun.
While I sit with my paper and prawn chow mein
Under a framed photograph of Hong Kong
The proprietor of the Chinese restaurant
Stands at the door as if the world were young,
Watching the first yacht hoist a sail
-- An ideogram on sea-cloud -- and the light
Of heaven upon the mountains of Donegal;
And whistles a little tune, dreaming of home.
Derek Mahon, Selected Poems (Penguin/The Gallery Press 1991).
"An ideogram on sea-cloud" is particularly lovely.
Richard Eurich, "Queen of the Sea, 1911" (1954)
The kind of rain we knew is a thing of the past --
deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say,
browsing on spire and bogland; but today
our sky-blue slates are steaming in the sun,
our yachts tinkling and dancing in the bay
like race-horses. We contemplate at last
shining windows, a future forbidden to no-one.
Derek Mahon, Ibid.
The lines "We contemplate at last/shining windows, a future forbidden to no-one" bring to mind two other poems. Mahon's "Everything Is Going To Be All Right" (which has appeared here before) closes with these lines:
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.
Derek Mahon, Ibid.
Philip Larkin's "High Windows" ends as follows:
. . . And immediately
Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
Philip Larkin, High Windows (Faber and Faber 1974).
Richard Eurich, "Dorset Cove" (1939)