“The fair maid who, the first of May, Goes to the fields at break of day, And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree, Will ever after handsome be.”
The gnomes no longer hide
in the cleft of half-rotten trees.
Not this season, this time,
they snort behind fallen limbs
hung in spring-green mosses,
and fall silent as I pass.
Where the globular man
spins dream’s from knobby fingers
stillness camouflages him from me.
Above where the woods violets
wink yellow at the tree frogs, wrens sing
of wing rebirth out of sight of fairies.
In the splintered hoary trunk of crabapple
tree, where early buds swell up,
tree-maids flutter first wings,
rejoice at all the upthrust of spring.
Beneath my foot winter downfalls crack
and chokecherry blossoms snow
on dawns long shadows, the creek and me.
By Arthur Rackham