Philip Levine

(January 10, 1928 / Detroit, Michigan)

Mad Day In March


Beaten like an old hound
Whimpering by the stove,
I complicate the pain
That smarts with promised love.
The oilstove falls, the rain,
Forecast, licks at my wound;
Ice forms, clips the green shoot,
And strikes the wren house mute.

May commoner and king,
The barren bride and nun
Begrudge the season's dues.
May children curse the sun,
Sweet briar and grass refuse
To compromise the spring,
And both sower and seed
Choke on the summer's weed.

Those promises we heard
We heard in ignorance;
The numbered days we named,
And, in our innocence,
Assumed the beast was tamed.
On a bare limb, a bird,
Alone, arrived, with wings
Frozen, holds on and sings.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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