If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.
If ever there was a spring poem that lifts my heart and makes me smile, this could be the one. Billy Collins can catch me off guard in a humorous way. He gives us that perfect day so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze – the kind that makes you want to open all the windows to let it in. Then we go from unlatching the door to the canary’s cage, to wanting to rip the little door from its jamb – suddenly this breezy image is interrupted by a startling, harsher one.
Then he leads us down brick paths through the garden bursting with peonies, a scene so etched in sunlight that you can visualize the flowers, almost smell them. The tone shifts as he suggests one might take a hammer to the glass paperweight, sometimes called a snow-globe, its interior forever fixed in time. Another surprising and destructive suggestion, but which quickly turns, showing us the gift of the release of the inhabitants from their snow-covered cottage.
Now these figures from a frozen world step out, holding hands and squinting, as they walk into this larger dome of blue and white. He brings them to life, these imaginary people, freed from their imprisonment on this glorious day, as any one of us may feel after the confinement of winter. And all this, he offers, is just that kind of day, one of those perfect spring days we can give ourselves over to, simply enjoying the beauty, feeling the exuberance. It just might be today.