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The Black of Spring


The black spring has arrived! We've had a few sunny, warm days here lately. Right now it's bright and cloudless, the temperature is in the 60s... and there's a vicious, cold wind blowing. Spring is a time of increased energy, positive and negative. It's celebrated as a time of joy, but it's also the time of year when the suicide rate is highest. The black soil in my backyard is thawing and wet and ready for digging. But in the next couple of days, we expect hard frosts again. The sun is coming, along with wind and rain and storms and floods. The birds are making a racket in the mornings. Soon, flowers and bunnies and butterflies will be coming from every direction. So will spiders, centipedes, and raccoons screaming in my walnut tree.

Spring will be a significant time for many of the characters in Sleeping Beauty and the Beast of Vepreskastel. Curses will be given and taken away in the spring. The "Beast" character, King Gustav, will hate the spring as the time when his garden of hellebore, or Lenten roses, fades. He will hate the smells of autumn that are exhumed in the dank forest when the snow melts. He will feel his loneliness the most in springtime, when the people of his castle increase their activity and so do the animals outside, birthing and hunting and killing and mating. And he will be caught between both worlds, in a state of frozen transition between man and beast.
Spring is probably the time of year when I feel most anxious to write. I plan on spending most of the day tomorrow in a cafe, pounding away at my novel.

I'm finding these pieces of spring poetry inspirational right now:


The bloodthirsty spring
has awakened in the woods.
The foxes start from their earths,
the serpents drink the dew,
and I go with you in the leaves
between the pines and the silence,
asking myself how and when
I will have to pay for my luck.


-from "Love," by Pablo Neruda


In soft, ever-emitting sunlight,
On a spring day,
Why are the cherry blossoms falling so restlessly?


-Ki no Tomonori, 10th century


...and of course, though no one claims to be able to translate it decently from the Russian...

Black spring! Pick up your pen, and weeping,
Of February, in sobs and ink,
Write poems, while the slush in thunder
Is burning in the black of spring.

Through clanking wheels, through church bells ringing
A hired cab will take you where
The town has ended, where the showers
Are louder still than ink and tears.

Where rooks, like charred pears, from the branches
In thousands break away, and sweep
Into the melting snow, instilling
Dry sadness into eyes that weep.

Beneath - the earth is black in puddles,
The wind with croaking screeches throbs,
And-the more randomly, the surer
Poems are forming out of sobs.


-Boris Pasternak

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