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A Poem by Stephen Sandy: ‘The Change’

Poems concerning the seasons are likely to get a nasty rap. Tender snowfall, chirping cardinals, naked toes on tender grass, crisp autumn leaves: These are clearly pretty scenes that, of their unambiguous magnificence, are typically perceived to lack complexity or literary value.

But among the best poems derive depth in addition to magnificence from the seasons. Louise Glück described the “spiked solar” and the “bone-pale” snow of December; Grace Schulman celebrated April tulips as “white cups inscribed with licks of flame”; Could Sarton noticed that within the gentle of fall, “each line is sharp and each leaf is evident”; Naomi Shihab Nye detailed a “long-limbed afternoon” in August, “solar urging purple blossoms from baked stems.” The reality is that quotidian climate offers the backdrop for our lives. We expertise each occasion, tedious or consequential, amid a mix of temperature, air, textures, and smells on our spinning planet. Why not attempt to seize the particularities that mark a second in its rotation?

Nothing a lot occurs in Stephen Sandy’s poem “The Change,” except for a stroll by means of the snow and a dialog about home shutters. However he paints the exact second in March when winter begins to provide technique to spring—how the season “with this imperious pause / modified imperceptibly.” The bodily setting seeps into the story: the “dart of sparrows,” the clean sky “muzzled in iron grey,” the sensation of stillness earlier than an unstoppable development. And all of a sudden we will higher envision this chilly stroll, and even the narrator and his strolling accomplice. Their relationship, too, will inevitably change, as a result of the whole lot adjustments—just like the Earth’s place in its orbit, the local weather, and the “needles leaden with chilly, quickly brightening.”

The pdf of the original magazine page with a yew painted on the left side

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