We end the month with a February poem by Kathleen Kummer. I love all the flowers that are included, how the poem touches on that moment of turning. The last two lines carry an extra weight this year.
There had been no hint that it was in the air, no question of even imagining a haze of green round the trees. What flowers there were pointed to winter: hellebores, snowdrops, a few crocuses trembling in the grass, and the camellias in bloom, ice-maidens, translucent, quite at home in the cold. It was February. Coming home in the dark, I paused on the step to the garden, held back by the smell of the soil someone had turned in my absence, moist, as if a god were breathing on it to warm the earth. Then I knew for certain that spring was coming, that, deo volente, I’d be there.
Yesterday afternoon I watched a TV programme about the Keukenhof, a major Dutch tourist attraction. Annually visitors come from over 100 different countries. A team of 40 gardeners has worked for three months last autumn planting around seven million bulbs – tulips, hyacinths, narcissi. Easter w/end is usually one of the busiest times; this year the Keukenhof will not open to visitors.
The photos are from 2018 when I went with my sister and brother-in-law. Now you cannot visit the Keukenhof, the Keukenhof will come to you. On the website they will be posting more videos. Go to de Keukenhof
The poem is by Thomas Tranströmer, from his collection The Sad Gondola, 1996. May you and those dear to you be safe and sound this Easter.
The Light Streams In
Outside the window, the long beast of spring
the transparent dragon of sunlight
rushes past like an endless
suburban train – we never got a glimpse of its head.
The shoreline villas shuffle sideways
they are proud as crabs.
The sun makes the statues blink.
The raging sea of fire out in space
is transformed to a caress.
The countdown has begun.