Every spring, I make sure to read this Leonard Cohen poem, which is one of my favorites ever-ever. A poet I know also recommended Frederick Seidel’s “Ode to Spring” to me today, which is what reminded me that it is about time, once again, to share it.
It’s Probably Spring
So-and-so is sick of all the shit but doesn’t feel that bad today because it’s probably Spring. the laundry in the sunshine tells the obscene family story of power and love but it doesn’t matter because it’s probably Spring. Jack is fat and jane is twisted from the Plague. But you don’t have to choose today because it’s probably Spring. You’re nothing like the pilot, nothing like the matador, you’re nothing like the one I waited for,
but I won’t rub your nose into everything you haven’t done because it’s probably Spring. I can listen to the bugle now, I can stand beside the old windmill, I can think about my loyal dog buried in the snow.
Sally lost her fragrance and her broken heart she won’t show but she’s going to bite her lip and start again because it’s finally Spring. The little lambs are leaping through the Easter hoop so the insomniac can get to sleep but he’s caught without his knife and fork because it’s probably Spring. It’s probably Spring. You can give away your money for an hour. You can resume your childhood plan. You’re naked and the snake is hungry but the vicious thing won’t sting because it’s probably Spring.
All the poison clouds have settled in a thimble which you nearly make me drink but then you smash it in the fireplace because it’s probably Spring. But let’s be quiet so we can hear the naval band. They’re fine looking lads and they’re playing the National Hymn. Their sweat is sweet beneath the woollen uniforms, it’s hot and scratchy but they’ll be in white tomorrow because of it’s probably being Spring. It is the passion of our Lord. It is the ladder through her hair. It is a lovely field which you cannot find in the city. It is what you can never find again so tender and so wild, so do kneel down and honour what the Name makes manifest because it’s probably Spring. O stand in due respect for that which flings your wife into another’s arms, which heaves the poppy shrapnel through your heart, which invites you to forgive some shabby crime you’re likely to commit because it’s probably Spring.
“I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.” – “Sincerely, L. Cohen.”
Two beautiful, ugly, hangdog men who describe “wide and high” heaven and what it’s like to be “not lovers like that” with somebody who is maybe more even more beautiful, more ugly, but “besides, it would still be all right.” Men who are the Kings of the New York School and Chelsea Hotel sets, respectively, but stand also outside of them, bristling softly and elastically in their righteousness, the ones who teach me about Bruno Walter and the iniquity of those who want to drag you by your propped-up elbow off of your sheets as you listen to the needlepoint motion of rain. Men who love to smoke and eat citrus, like me. Men who love patterns, but aesthetic ones, as in floor tiles or quilts, not as in daily movement. I wish I were big enough to hold them both, or more truly, even one of them.
“Brahms turns his face like a bearded thumb and says, “There is something I must tell you!…think of it as a family planning where to go next summer in terms of other summers. A material ecstasy, subdued, recollective.” – James Schulyer