Spring blossoms at the Arnold Arboretum, Boston

The Sudden Spring

The coyote had just spoken
and lay down to rest in a snowdrift.

March, like a fly awakened too early,
droned between somnolence
and a furious boredom.

No one remembers the autumnal
prophet, teller of drowsy stories
to be continued…

Winter, the unfinished, the abandoned,
slumped like a mourner
between two weeping candles.


This is the plaza of Paradise.
It is always noon,
and the dusty bees are dozing
like pardoned sinners.

The Mushroom Grove

Here the forest people
died of a sexual longing.

The ground trampled in their passion
healed into a cemetery,
with a few flowers
like frayed parachutes.

Their headstones are umbrellas,
black and weeping.

Three short poems by John Haines in quiet remembrance of how seasons move through the landscape with or without our approval. Haines was a homesteader in Alaska, and much of his poetry speaks to his intimacy with wildness, with solitude, with how nature happens around us with such clarity of purpose and intent. Whether viewed as a nature writer or a visionary, Haines is a poet whose short pieces cut quickly to the bone of knowing. He died in March at the age of 86.

A big thank you to Elizabeth Mead for introducing me to his work.