Spring has receded as winter returns in the form of freezing rain and icy snow. Trees, cars, mailboxes – every surface slicked over with ice. Even the crocuses, which were merrily blooming yesterday, are closed up against the ice. I have been thinking of poet Langston Hughes’ poem In Time of Silver Rain, which has been adapted into a Unitarian Universalist hymn. I love this gentle song, and while Hughes was writing about a much warmer spring, the silver rain has been in abundance here in South-western Ontario. But even with the freezing rain, spring is lurking, waiting to return. Robins, cardinals, finches, sparrows, and blue jays are busy in the gardens, and the first pale mist of green is emerging from grass and shrubs. Life, life, life, indeed.
In time of silver rain the earth puts forth new life again,
green grasses grow and flowers lift their heads,
and over all the plain the wonder spreads of life, of life, of life!
In time of silver rain the butterflies lift silken wings,
and trees put forth new leaves to sing in joy
beneath the sky in time of silver rain,
when spring and life are new.
from the hymnal Singing in the Living Tradition
adapted from the Langston Hughes poem.
I find myself longing for spring, so grateful for the lengthening daylight as we head towards the equinox. In anticipation, I offer this delightful excerpt from Pattiann Roger’s poem Rolling Naked in the Morning Dew (1989).
Lillie Langtry practiced it, when weather permitted,
Lying down naked every morning in the dew,
With all of her beauty believing the single petal
Of her white skin could absorb and assume
That radiating purity of liquid and light.
And I admit to believing myself, without question,
In the magical powers of dew on the cheeks
And breasts of Lillie Langtry believing devotedly
In the magical powers of early morning dew on the skin
Of her body lolling in purple beds of bird’s-foot violets,
Pink prairie mimosa. And I believe, without doubt,
In the mystery of the healing energy coming
From that wholehearted belief in the beneficent results
Of the good delights of the naked body rolling
And rolling through all the silked and sun-filled,
Dusky-winged, sheathed and sparkled, looped
And dizzied effluences of each dawn
Of the rolling earth.
Just consider how the mere idea of it alone
Has already caused me to sing and sing
This whole morning long.
Lillie Langtry – 1899 “The Degenerates” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)