Spring Is the Peace

by

JOHN HOLMES
SPRING coming is the real peace, but don’t say peace. Say spring.
Winter was war, and war was the weather that the papers told:
The snow went off first from town cross-streets and country roads
Warmed down and worn down by feet and wheels back to the edges.
Ice went out later from old corners behind barns and mountains,
Though under dead leaves where they drift some ice lasts till April.
It is warmer now. Room-light comes earlier. By six in the morning
Any morning since Christmas a fury of shovels dug us back to sidewalk.
Boys did it. By noon in March any town was ours and pavements dry.
The leaves, look — the leaves on the maple tree are coming out again.
Don’t hurry it. You can’t hurry it. Peace is spring coming slow.
The last time ago was so long ago Bill Smith said his own father
Heard of it from someone’s extra uncle who had seen the spring.
But spring is a hymn-book music sung a hundred times, For unto us
A son is born, and then we have the son, and really hear the words.
We guess the blossoms round the corner in the bush before we see.
Dead leaves and dead branches and dead grass we rake, pile, burn.
The next morning and the next and the next morning young leaves,
Hedges greening, children throwing their coats away, and the
Windows opened all night to the new time, the almost warm air
Coming in everywhere, everyone saying Spring, it’s spring now.
Spring is what everyone always said it would be if it ever came,
So clean with trees, like this, so clear with skies, so much like spring,
Like love, like new music, the way it always was, like peace.