March 1912 by Natasha Trethewey

At last we are near

breaking the season, shedding

our coats, the gray husk

of winter.  Each tree

trembles with new leaves, tiny

blossoms, the flashy

dress of spring. I am

aware now of its coming

as I’ve never been—

the wet grass throbbing

with crickets, insistent, keen

as desire.  Now,

I feel what trees must—

budding, green sheaths splitting—skin

that no longer fits.

March 1912

Here, it is April and we are near / breaking the season, winter’s breath still chilling the days’ beginnings and endings. I have shed my winter parka though I oscillate erratically from heavier to lighter spring jackets. Each tree trembles with new leaves, though in truth, most of those leaves are still well tucked into their protective wraps, the flashy / dress of spring still in our imaginations.

I am / aware now of its coming / as I’ve never been. Though there are obvious outward signs, like birdsong and streetsweepers and bright flashes of crocus, it’s more a feeling, a sensation in the body that tells me we are moving into a new season, new possibilities, insistent, keen / as desire.

Finally, the poet invites us into the experience of being a tree, budding, green sheaths splitting – our bodies opening to the new growth of spring, sap rising, stepping out of our winter bodies, skin / that no longer fits. What tree would you like to be? What is yearning to break into leaf?

P.S. If you are wondering about the date in the title, it comes from a 2002 collection of Trethewey’s poems titled Bellocq’s Ophelia. This poem has been written in haiku stanzas of 5-7-5 which sadly I was not able to reproduce here, but thought you would be interested to know.

8 thoughts on “March 1912 by Natasha Trethewey

  1. Might snow on Saturday. Just sayin’. 😉

    “Skin that no longer fits”. Oh, this, Jan! That hits me right in the heart. A new mantra. I don’t need to continue wearing the one that doesn’t fit. I’m not sure that I’ve found one yet that completely fits, but still I can discard the old one and continue trying until I find one that feels comfortable.

    Thank you, dear Jan!

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  2. Lovely, Jan! I have been enjoying watching our Ash tree in the front and chipmunk rumbles in the back – Spring certainly is transformative, you have put me on some “excavation” to discern my own shedding – many thanks!

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