Did Spring relent her blossoming sending
a late hoarfrost on unripened cherries?
Did she fertilize her stillborn bushels,
caramelize her green bulbs like lollipops
so bloom and harvest could become one garden
of unpicked crops, and unrung peal of bells?
She did not lament with rainshower that month
the loss of a single orchard of my cherries,
only, that she must carry on her season
in abundance, with nothing left undone.
I am haunted by antecedent conclusions,
a pastoral and Protestant Wordsworth
laudanumed like grandpas in their rockers,
whose Prelude begat only retirement,
haunted by lovers still charged in their remanence
yet, parted by ordinary distance,
must love from afar their amorous loadstone
not with magnetism but reminiscence.
I must believe that it was Winter’s work
left unfinished, his icy signature
undoing the first flowers of April
like addenda to his seasonal revisions,
and must believe also in prolific Schubert,
curly-headed Schwämmerl made of failures,
who tallied the double bar-line of his Eighth
and returned the quill to its dark inkwell
saying, “No, I will die first, and finish it afterwards.”