Thursday, March 20, 2014

Babbling: The Vernal Equinox

That bougainvillea is cray-cray, as Oliver would say in the language of the millenials (at least for today). It's everywhere here in sunny Los Angeles, its paper-thin flowers hanging over concrete walls and poking through chain link fences. It's at once riotous against the blue sky and garish with its showy pinks and purples. I know our spring is nothing like yours if you live pretty much anywhere but the southwest, but the season touches us somewhat, and I'm going to blame the vernal equinox on my lightheadedness this week, the faint nausea and jittery nerves. I've been grappling with this for weeks, feeling almost like I should collapse, that it's due. I feel -- well -- cray cray.

It's time to post my favorite springtime poem --


To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Edna St. Vincent Millay


  1. ahhh, love everything -picture, words, poem.

  2. And as I recall, bougainvillea, for all its lurid beauty, has thorns that'll catch and rend.
    As does that poem.
    Happy spring, dear Elizabeth! And ALL which that may mean.

  3. Oh April, will you be sunnier than March? Will you smile again till the end of August?
    Because coldness has broken my bone, against the winter of the world (or Canada, I suppose).

  4. :) cray cray and po po are two things I hesitate to admit I say to my daughter who rolls her eyes and laughs. I started saying those things to make her laugh but now I laugh myself. And when you find something to amuse yourself with you have to stick to it.

  5. Thank you for the poem! And thank you for the confirmation that there are others feeling this way, too - like too many cups of coffee on a bright, sunny day without sunglasses. I heard on the radio that (at least in our time zone), the sun will cross the threshold at precisely 9:50 this morning to usher in Spring. I have set my alarm to remind me to stop and breathe deeply (the daphne is perfuming the air something fierce up here!) and just be as we move into the next phase. Much love.

  6. I do love that poem. Thank goodness for the babbling idiot.

  7. Ah! That Edna made me laugh today. Just last night I was thinking how I need to go to the library and check some books of her poems out. I think this waiting on spring and spring stuttering is a hard time for everyone. I feel a certain drag on my body, too.

  8. I miss bougainvillea and baby ice plant covering the hillsides, California poppies and wild purple iris. We are not yet in the season of color here at the foot of the Rockies, but my memory is a-burst with California color and scent. And this:

    To counter Millay's bad mood (and I do love all of her moods!), I offer up e.e. cummings:

    “i thank You God for most this amazing” by e.e. cummings

    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
    day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any–lifted from the no
    of all nothing–human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?

    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

    1. OOOOO...Love this!! Had to look up "cray cray" I am soooooo not "with it".

  9. I have to remember the term "Spring Fever" must have a basis in reality, as I get more restless and fidgety this time of year. I love the bougainvillea here, and there's an electric fuchsia plant on Forest Lawn that always shocks and rivets me so much that I have to not drive my car off the road for staring. Thank you for the poem.



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