Poetry Friday: February by James Schuyler

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The Poetry Friday Round Up is hosted by Cathy at Merely Day by Day 

I am thoroughly sick of winter already, and wish the snow would all melt away in a flash of warmth.  I’m joining in the refrain: hurry along Spring!  But, there is one thing about February that I am enjoying – the light.  I do love the filtered, murky February light, like a Turner painting.  But, I suppose that that is what art museums are for – we can always visit a museum to enjoy February light…who needs the accompanying cold and snow?!

Norham Castle, Sunrise c.1845 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

 Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Norham Castle, Sunrise' circa 1845

February by James Schuyler

A chimney, breathing a little smoke.
The sun, I can’t see
making a bit of pink
I can’t quite see in the blue.
The pink of five tulips
at five p.m. on the day before March first.
The green of the tulip stems and leaves
like something I can’t remember,
finding a jack-in-the-pulpit
a long time ago and far away.
Why it was December then
and the sun was on the sea
by the temples we’d gone to see.
One green wave moved in the violet sea
like the UN Building on big evenings,
green and wet
while the sky turns violet.
A few almond trees
had a few flowers, like a few snowflakes
out of the blue looking pink in the light.
A gray hush
in which the boxy trucks roll up Second Avenue
into the sky. They’re just
going over the hill.
The green leaves of the tulips on my desk
like grass light on flesh,
and a green-copper steeple
and streaks of cloud beginning to glow.
I can’t get over
how it all works in together
like a woman who just came to her window
and stands there filling it
jogging her baby in her arms.
She’s so far off. Is it the light
that makes the baby pink?
I can see the little fists
and the rocking-horse motion of her breasts.
It’s getting grayer and gold and chilly.
Two dog-size lions face each other
at the corners of a roof.
It’s the yellow dust inside the tulips.
It’s the shape of a tulip.
It’s the water in the drinking glass the tulips are in.
It’s a day like any other.

7 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: February by James Schuyler

  1. I’ve never seen this poem, but I guess you’ve found just the one, Tara. Our winter has been very warm, & now we’re getting worried about the dryness & fires in the spring. I hope you are on the edge of this coming storm. Winter does seem “a long time ago and far away”. Thinking of you & hoping light comes your way soon!

  2. Tara,
    I hadn’t really thought much of the muted light of February, but you’re so right. Thank you for the pairing of art and poetry. This time of year we can all use a little uplifting beauty in art and words. Oh, the tulip. It won’t be long.


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