Obligatory Springtime Sestina~by David Seth Smith

Obligatory Springtime Sestina


It is the bridging time, not spring, not winter.
When camellias shout all the roused rudeness of spring,
now the uncertain crocus peers from the cold,
a scout in an army risking withered bloom.
As the governing equinox reins in time,
the rank, softening earth gives way to the heel.


Even as the sun’s lash calls frost to heel,
there is nothing so set in mind as winter.
The spirit seeks folds in the thin cloth of time,
the heart will wait as cool water feeds the spring.
In this quiet center, muted colors bloom,
insulating thoughts against insular cold.


This indeterminate stagger from the cold,
when the seasons spin drunkenly on their heel,
makes cycles swing uncertain, confusions bloom.
reeling through the last remnant of winter,
It holds up the intoxication of spring
propped on lampposts of daffodils, biding time.


As clocks jump ahead with their false start in time,
the misplaced hour meanders out in the cold.
The clock we keep inside holds a broken spring,
stumble-stepping minutes heel-to-toe-to-heel.
Sundials, forced to lie, hold tight onto winter,
second-guessing the moments prior to bloom.


Like unpracticed lovers, whose cheeks will bloom
red in the moment, seeking to buy more time,
not ready for summer, but done with winter,
the days, unsure of the lure of warmth, stay cold.
A day will promise heat, then turn on its heel,
and beds are turned many times awaiting spring.


Seasons hold tension like the overwound spring
in a music box, snapping before the bloom.
Growth begins, then is stamped down beneath the heel
of a God with no sense of rhythm or time.
Stalling at the line leaves reels and dancers cold,
one foot advanced in spring, one stuck in winter.


When spring waits at the door, it is killing time.
Fortunate is the bloom that evades the cold,
and can gaze at the back heel of winter.

© David Seth Smith 2013

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