february

February

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February, bitter February,
Month of hope withheld and promise vain,
Drenching, under fickle smiles, the unwary
Earth with devastating rain.

Ere the limes with ruddy spear-points glimmer,
Ere the greenness leap from bush to bush,
While the starveling grass grows dim and dimmer,
And the folded snowdrops push;

Ah! be gracious, tenderly relenting,
Take not back thy gifts with churlish hand;
Let the breath of thy serene consenting
Falter through the weary land.

Rather thunder on in bleak resistance,
Swift to spoil and rigorous to deny,
Than as thus to veil the sullen distance
With thy bleared and tear-stained sky.

 

– Arthur Christopher Benson

 

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In February

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Rich meanings of the prophet-Spring adorn,
Unseen, this colourless sky of folded showers,
And folded winds; no blossom in the bowers;
A poet’s face asleep in this grey morn.
Now in the midst of the old world forlorn
A mystic child is set in these still hours.
I keep this time, even before the flowers,
Sacred to all the young and the unborn.

To all the miles and miles of unsprung wheat,
And to the Spring waiting beyond the portal,
And to the future of my own young art,
And, among all these things, to you, my sweet,
My friend, to your calm face and the immortal
Child tarrying all your life-time in your heart.

 

– Alice Meynell

 

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February Morning

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The old man takes a nap
too soon in the morning.
His coffee cup grows cold.

Outside the snow falls fast.
He’ll not go out today.
Others must clear the way

to the car and the shed.
Open upon his lap
lie the poems of Mr. Frost.

Somehow his eyes get lost
in the words and the snow,
somehow they go

backward against the words,
upward among the flakes
to the blankness of air,

the busy abundance there.
Should he take warning?
Mr. Frost went off, they say,

in bitterness and despair.
The old man stirs and wakes,
hearing the hungry birds,

nuthatch, sparrow, and jay
that clamor outside, unfed,
and words stir from his past

like this irritable sorrow
of jay, nuthatch, and sparrow,
wrath which no longer takes

shape of sentence or song.
He climbs the stairs to bed.
The snow falls all day long.

 

– Hayden Carruth

 

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February Evening In New York

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As the stores close, a winter light
opens air to iris blue,
glint of frost through the smoke
grains of mica, salt of the sidewalk.
As the buildings close, released autonomous
feet pattern the streets
in hurry and stroll; balloon heads
drift and dive above them; the bodies
aren’t really there.
As the lights brighten, as the sky darkens,
a woman with crooked heels says to another woman
while they step along at a fair pace,
‘You know, I’m telling you, what I love best
is life. I love life! Even if I ever get
to be old and wheezy—or limp! You know?
Limping along?—I’d still … ‘ Out of hearing.
To the multiple disordered tones
of gears changing, a dance
to the compass points, out, four-way river.
Prospect of sky
wedged into avenues, left at the ends of streets,
west sky, east sky: more life tonight! A range
of open time at winter’s outskirts.

 

– Denise Levertov

 

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February

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February. Take ink and weep,
write February as you’re sobbing,
while black Spring burns deep
through the slush and throbbing.

Take a cab. For a clutch of copecks,
through bell-towers’ and wheel noise,
go where the rain-storm’s din breaks,
greater than crying or ink employs.

Where rooks in thousands falling,
like charred pears from the skies,
drop down into puddles, bringing
cold grief to the depths of eyes.

Below, the black shows through,
and the wind’s furrowed with cries:
the more freely, the more truly
then, sobbing verse is realised.

 

– Boris Pasternak

 

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February Twilight

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I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature
That saw what I could see–
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.

 

– Sara Teasdale

 

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Afternoon In February

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The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o’er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.

 

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

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