Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Spring Poem for April Poetry Month

Having passed by an expansive and sloping front yard covered in purple grape hyacinths, a veritable country hillock in bloom within the city, I thought of this well-anthologised poem of the past by L. A. MacKay (1901-1982).

Admonition For Spring

Look away now from the high lonesome hills
So hard on the hard sky since the swift shower;
See where among the restless daffodils
The hyacinth sets his melancholy tower.

Draw in your heart from vain adventurings;
Float, slowly, swimmer, slowly drawing breath.
See, in this wild green foam of growing things
The heavy hyacinth remembering death.

L. A. Mackay was born in 1901 in the small hamlet of Hensall, Ontario and went on to be a much beloved professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley after having taught at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. When teaching in Toronto he was involved with The Canadian Forum, and, using the pseudonym, "John Smalacombe" he had a chapbook published by the Ryerson Press entitled Viper's Bugloss (1938). In 1948 some of these poems appeared in his second poetry collection, The Ill-Tempered Lover and Other Poems issued under his real name by Macmillan of Canada.

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