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  • By Daniel Leach

Ode: Spring Mourning

The first soft days of springtime greet my eyes

Like a young girl’s face, smiling fresh and clean,

The sunlight falls, like hope, from cloudless skies

Upon a budding world, all tender green;

But sweet, sad odors drift upon the breeze,

That seem to carry my soul far away,

Of oozing sap and scarce remembered flowers,

The soft, fresh moss upon the aged trees,

And thawing humus of the past’s decay

The buried hopes of near forgotten hours.

How strange and distant is that memory

Of one with whom a day like this I shared,

When Nature’s spirits all conspired with me

To germinate and bloom the love I dared;

How I thanked God, and wondered at the chance,

Or holy fate, that put us there, alone

Beneath a tree, trapped by a sudden rain

The tender words, the brief, yet soulful glance,

And all was possible! Yet she is gone

And but the echoes of that day remain.

I saw, in later springs, dark shadows creep

Like ghosts, to haunt my once bright, carefree day;

The death of loved ones, in whose graves now sleep

The childlike joy that in the spring should play.

These flowers are forever sad, yet dear,

For they are like the ones that we loved so

It is as if from death itself they bloom,

With fragrance like a body, breathing near,

Whispering secrets only the dead know,

Of untold beauties that survive the tomb.

But oh, it is when I look in your eyes,

Those deep pools that speak of much suffering,

And sense a kindred soul within them lies,

Like mine, forever banished from the spring,

That I am most from innocence estranged;

For we autumnal souls forever bear

The knowledge of our own mortality.

Yet though to darker hues our day has changed,

The beauty of this moment, you now wear

Like lingering, golden leaves upon the tree.

So let us spend the day in flowery fields,

And teach the spring a richer, wiser joy

That from each moment a true pleasure yields,

When fleeting time and precious hearts alloy;

Then sing to me of all that you hold dear

In earth and sun, or budding trees, or sound

Of unseen birds singing in the bright sky

Perhaps to share a melancholy tear

Upon some long-lost treasure found,

Or laugh, as if the day would never die.

Daniel is a poet living in Houston, Texas. He has spent much of his life fighting for the ideals of classical culture and and poetry. His volume of poetry, compiling over 20 years of composition, is entitled Voices on the Wind.


Jun 17, 2022

This is an excellent poem! Like the commenters below, I was immediately drawn to the contrast in the title, and the poem deftly juxtaposed the new life of spring against the memories of the dead. The language is poignant for both contrasting ideas, which renders the various turns almost jarring, renewing the reader's engagement each time.

Can I ask if your stanza is a sort of modified sonnet? The entire poem reads like a "super sonnet," with the contrasting ideas resolving in the end after several turns. I wonder if that was a conscious decision.

Nov 10, 2022
Replying to

Sorry it took so long to reply. The stanzas are a modified version of Keats' in several of his Odes.


May 27, 2022

What a wonderful poem! You had me from the very first line, and all the beauty, pain and fresh hope of mortal experiences is skilfully captured here. The second stanza had me thinking of Hardy's poems of 1912 - 1913 for Emma, and not many poems written now can do that. A real pleasure!

May 27, 2022
Replying to

Yes, you're right, John, the title is very striking. I think it guides your perception right from the beginning and add a lot to it in terms of being memorable.

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