Spring makes new the taste of lettuce

farmers market salad

I suppose we’re now enjoying the last salads of March, but I think this poem is still a lovely way to usher in the new season. Happy Spring, dear readers.

“The First Salad of March”

by Marge Piercy

Thinnings of the rows,
Chinese cabbage, lettuce, sorrel,
cress; nipped ends of herbs
returning, mint and thyme;
violet leaves poking up in clusters like armies
of teddy bears emerging
ears first from the earth;
the Egyptian onions that multiply
underground; the spears
of garlic shoots. The mixture
huddles, skimpy in the bowl.

The salad explodes in the mouth,
green romancandles.
It is succulent, dainty,
intense. It is crisp
as new money.
It lights up my blood
and urges fur from
the backs of my hands.
I want to roll in leaves
that are still lumps
on twigs. First salad
strong and fierce and plaintive:
love at age five. Spring
makes new the taste of lettuce
fresh as a tear.

from The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing


Whatever I have to do has not yet begun

“It Is March” by W.S. Merwin (1927- )

It is March and black dust falls out of the books
Soon I will be gone
The tall spirit who lodged here has
Left already
On the avenues the colorless thread lies under
Old prices

When you look back there is always the past
Even when it has vanished
But when you look forward
With your dirty knuckles and the wingless
Bird on your shoulder
What can you write

The bitterness is still rising in the old mines
The fist is coming out of the egg
The thermometers out of the mouths of the corpses

At a certain height
The tails of the kites for a moment are
Covered with footsteps

Whatever I have to do has not yet begun