The Onus of Vernal Duty Surrounding fields and woods unfreeze, The air once more is filled with light, As springtime’s blanket amnesties Dispel the winter’s cheerless night. So long you’ve waited for reprieve, That you can barely trust your senses And therefore tend to disbelieve The visions flashing through your lenses. So what are you to do with all The warmth with which you’ve now been showered But heed the equinoctial call To arms by which you’ve been empowered? The gracious pardon that you boast Is not enough to save your soul: Step lively, lad, and man your post, For you are merely on parole. Better Late than Never It happens almost every spring, that chores We should have taken care of in the fall Are there, ahead of us, to cast a pall Upon the surface of the burnished floors Our winter boots had trodden all those months— Long shadows of the deeds we’d left undone. Before the season proper has begun Some things must be attended to at once, Including, dare I say, the prompt removal Of last year’s desiccated wind-blown stalks And any vagrant weeds that lined the walks Without the gardener’s express approval. And leaves, now thickly matted on the beds, Must be removed to let the bulbs emerge And cycle through the normal vernal surge Of colors as intense as Joseph’s threads. What’s done is done. What hasn’t been, we know, Might never be, but for the habits built Throughout a lifetime. We will feel no guilt If sometimes things get done a little slow. Life after the Death of Winter At last, the world showed signs of spring __(As too, his sluggish stride) When, after having overslept, __He found that everything He owned was draped in tints of green, __But only once he’d leapt From bed and fixed his gaze outside __Upon the brilliant scene Where swollen buds festooned the trees __Around his ample yard. The chirping birds had all returned, __And waves of thirsty bees Had left behind the crowded hive. __With winter’s court adjourned, His precious land, long cold and hard, __Once more had come alive. There was no time for sleeping now, __Because another day Had come for him to get behind __That rugged rusty plow And work his fertile fields anew, __Again to set his mind On planting corn and baling hay, __To see new seasons through. C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India. His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.