Some say it is a poet’s job
to inspire hope
or at least to set one upon some picturesque outcropping
with a good view of hope
just as a bountiful harvest
is a farmer’s job,
cleanliness a janitor’s
or health, a doctor’s domain.
But spring hope too easily plucked
is a protection against truth.
You ask, why be so stingy with hope
in a world already thirsty enough?
Whatever hope grows within
whatever spring springs in your heart
whatever fiddlehead unfurls or wild plum blossoms,
like stone fruit let them be harvested in the proper season.
You can’t jump over winter–
you may dream of spring
on the solstice
and try for eternal vernal
at the first frost
but you can’t jump over winter.
Slow down and let the season season you.
There is hope in truth,
but much hope that is not true
until the darkness gets its due
and despair’s your better ally
than shiny hope, that false friend.
Don’t jump over the season
like an escapee.
Tell me, what are you fleeing from?
Can you flee from the season within you?
Don’t be tempted by the empty calories
of a bittersweet fruit too easily procured–
an early ripening causing indigestion.
Let the season season you.
Let the cold crack that bark of yours
and let the season season you.
Open your meadow and feel it all.
Open your earthbody and feel
even the worst of it–
where it hurts the most.
Be still and let the season season you.
Let darkness fall in you
like a sword of truth
and you will find a deeper root
than you ever knew.
Then–at the ripening hour,
your branches will know
how to celebrate the sky
and your sun will be the true sun
the world is needing most.
Do you understand these are the kindest words
you’ve yet heard?