An illustration of a window open to the sea, with flowers on each side
Miki Lowe

Celebration

A poem by Grace Schulman, published in The Atlantic in 2009

By Grace Schulman
Illustrations by Miki Lowe

Grace Schulman’s poem is a “celebration” of springtime, a season that can in itself feel like a hopeful celebration of warmth, light, and life. Schulman describes newly blooming nature as full of motion, as though every flower, tree, and creature were waking up and dancing: The hostas unfurl, the tulips gaze feverish, the oaks raise up their leaves.

But the joy is tinged with loss. The changing seasons mark the passage of time, marching forward to an inevitable end point. Spring breathes new life into the world, but it also reminds us of all that cannot reemerge as miraculously as flowers from their thawing dirt. Schulman, writing in 2009, had plenty to mourn—both cultural and personal. But she couldn’t have known how deeply this poem would come to resonate in 2021, when April’s promise feels especially weighted with the knowledge of what does not come back.


image of the original page with the poem, with a piano and flowers painted on