The cardinal announces

His bright voice swoops
through bare branches, spreads
across the grass,

Woosh, and he sits on the wood fence

head bold as a warning
throat an unquenchable fire
wings like an ambush

Zooming across the garden

to his brown-and-rose mate at the top
of the stark old maple
he proclaims the day’s beginning.

The Garden, Uncovered

When the cardinal called out –
his song like drops of light spilling over a dawn field –
I ran outside

that first day of his voice
as Spring’s soft sun
opened the heart of the brisk, grey winds

I ran to answer him
then stopped
astonished

at the tender, naked garden
suddenly uncovered:

after months of snow
the smell of earth
rising to meet the bird’s song.

and wakes in April

All winter the lawn has loafed
under its thick white quilt
and wakes in April, tousle-headed,
crusty-edged, and with the freshest shoots of weeds
curled cheekily in its damp, bare places.

Afternoon sun, a stiff rake,
and the layabout sits, chastened,
scrubbed and alert:
waiting to don a new green suit.

Common magic

March lies covered under thick snow.
Brown leaves have clung all winter to the stunted oak,
rustling loudly as bitter wind drives
across the tundra of the yard. They will fall in spring.
Any day now, by the calendar.

The hare’s prints trace her hunt
for any not-yet-gnawed shoots above the waist-deep drifts.
We all hunt for the sun.

Then the magicians arrive, chickadees
and cardinals spreading their voices
over the iced-in world, pulling a slow change
from beyond the edges, their wondrous notes
unfurling the small silk squares of colour
the cold winter rolled tightly around our hearts.