Seize the season

Mar 20, 2014 By Steven R. Peck

Today ends an old-style winter that won't be missed very much

By the time readers see today's edition, winter will have ended across our hemisphere. The orbits and tilts and angles of our planets and the sun will have worked their way back in our favor, and we'll have more sunlight and less darkness for six months.

The winter just departed wasn't a record-setter in any way. There have been colder ones, and snowier. But it was a real winter, with week after week of cold weather, with snow on the ground far more often than not, a few thawed-out interruptions here and there, but mostly a settled-in season of the sort we all agree we used to get more frequently than we do now.

That means this week is welcome. When you've had a real winter, you're ready for the spring.

The wait is over.

The American poet and editor Howard Moss wrote about the end of winter. He was the poetry editor of the New Yorker magazine for the third quarter of the 20th century. By the end of his career he was doing more reading than writing, but he produced 14 volumes of poetry. One of them won the National Book Award in 1972.

Winter's End

By Howard Moss

Once in a wood at winter's end,

The withered sun, becoming young,

Turned the white silence into sound:

Bird after bird rose up in song.

The skeletons of snow-blocked trees

Linked thinning shadows here and there,

And those made mummy by the freeze

Spangled their mirrors on cold air.

Whether they moved -- perhaps they spun,

Caught in a new but known delight --

Was hard to tell, since shade and sun

Mingled to hear the birds recite.

No body of this sound I saw,

So glassed and shining was the world

That swung on a sun-and-ice seesaw

And fought to have its leaves unfurled.

Hanging its harvest in between

Two worlds, one lost, one yet to come,

The wood's remoteness, like a drum,

Beat the oncoming season in.

Then every snow bird on white wings

Became its tropic counterpart,

And, in a renaissance of rings,

I saw the heart of summer start.


It's spring, finally. Seize the season.

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