On The First Day Of Spring
Composed on "the first day of spring."
The topic calls for anticipation of spring, never soon enough (compare poems on the coming of autumn, by contrast almost always arriving sooner than expected). The theme is an implied contrast between the calendar, which has announced the arrival of spring and its warm breezes (through an allusion, perhaps, to the Chinese Book of Rites), and the conceit of sleeves wet with water from the previous year's summer still frozen with winter's cold. The promise of spring remains unfulfilled but by taking the compass of three successive seasons the poet affirms his faith in the calendar.
Waters I cupped my
hands to drink, wetting
my sleeves, still frozen:
Might this first day of
spring's wind thaw them?
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