Poem of the Month: Last Spring

Once again I have seen the winter
give way to spring;
The wild cherry trees in full bloom,
I saw once again.
Once again I saw the ice
break free from the land,
Saw the snow melt and the foam of the river
swirl and rage.
And the plants and flowers once again
I saw them bloom;
And again I heard the spring song of the birds
expectant of sun and summer.

And I was privileged to see
dancing on the spring hillsides,
Butterflies fluttering and flitting
among the garlands of flowers.
All the life of the spring I saw again
that I so missed.
But I am weary and I ask myself:
is this the last one?
Let it be so: much that was waited
in life I have enjoyed;
I have received more than I deserved
and all may fade.

Once I was myself, in the full flow of spring
that fills my sight,
Once I wanted to find myself a home
and convivial company.
All that the spring presented to me
and even the flowers I plucked,
And I thought it was the ancestral spirits
that danced and sighed,
And so between birch and fir tree I found
a mystery in the spring;
And so the sound of the flute that I cut
seemed full of tears.

-Aasmund Olavsson Vinje
tr. by William Jewson
[Thanks to a Grand Rapids reader for suggesting this poem!]

Abby has a B.A. in English Literature and Writing. She has a love for native plants and the woods of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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