20 March 2012


Today at 05:14 Universal Time, the vernal equinox arrived, one of two points in the earth's orbit at which the earth's axis is pointed neither toward, nor away from the sun (see illustration above, click to enlarge).  Thus has begun Spring, my favorite season of the year ~ the time of newborn life, flowers and returning greenery, and warmer days.

In celebration, I offer two poems whose central icon is .... the bear


by Mary Oliver

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and hairy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her ~
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.


by Robert Mitchum

He's an old blind bar,
alone in the woods,
with only the smell of his breath for comfort.

Too mean to die.
Too lost to care.
But show some caution!
He's still the bear!

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