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Spring Day

Amy Lowell 1874 (Brookline) – 1925 (Brookline)



Bath

The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and narcissus
in the air.

The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and bores through the water
in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish-white. It cleaves the water
into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright light.

Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of the water and dance, dance,
and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a stir of my finger
sets them whirring, reeling. I move a foot, and the planes of light
in the water jar. I lie back and laugh, and let the green-white water,
the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me. The day is almost
too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too bright day.
I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the sun spots.

The sky is blue and high. A crow flaps by the window, and there is
a whiff of tulips and narcissus in the air.

Breakfast Table

In the fresh-washed sunlight, the breakfast table is decked and white.
It offers itself in flat surrender, tendering tastes, and smells,
and colours, and metals, and grains, and the white cloth falls over its side,
draped and wide. Wheels of white glitter in the silver coffee-pot,
hot and spinning like catherine-wheels, they whirl, and twirl - and my eyes
begin to smart, the little white, dazzling wheels prick them like darts.
Placid and peaceful, the rolls of bread spread themselves in the sun to bask.
A stack of butter-pats, pyramidal, shout orange through the white, scream,
flutter, call: 'Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!' Coffee steam rises in a stream,
clouds the silver tea-service with mist, and twists up into the sunlight,
revolved, involuted, suspiring higher and higher, fluting in a thin spiral
up the high blue sky. A crow flies by and croaks at the coffee steam.
The day is new and fair with good smells in the air.

Walk

Over the street the white clouds meet, and sheer away without touching.

On the sidewalks, boys are playing marbles. Glass marbles,
with amber and blue hearts, roll together and part with a sweet
clashing noise. The boys strike them with black and red striped agates.
The glass marbles spit crimson when they are hit, and slip into the gutters
under rushing brown water. I smell tulips and narcissus in the air,
but there are no flowers anywhere, only white dust whipping up the street,
and a girl with a gay Spring hat and blowing skirts. The dust and the wind
flirt at her ankles and her neat, high-heeled patent leather shoes. Tap, tap,
the little heels pat the pavement, and the wind rustles among the flowers
on her hat.

A water-cart crawls slowly on the other side of the way. It is green and gay
with new paint, and rumbles contentedly, sprinkling clear water over
the white dust. Clear zigzagging water, which smells of tulips and narcissus.

The thickening branches make a pink `grisaille' against the blue sky.

Whoop! The clouds go dashing at each other and sheer away just in time.
Whoop! And a man's hat careers down the street in front of the white dust,
leaps into the branches of a tree, veers away and trundles ahead of the wind,
jarring the sunlight into spokes of rose-colour and green.

A motor-car cuts a swathe through the bright air, sharp-beaked, irresistible,
shouting to the wind to make way. A glare of dust and sunshine
tosses together behind it, and settles down. The sky is quiet and high,
and the morning is fair with fresh-washed air.

Midday and Afternoon

Swirl of crowded streets. Shock and recoil of traffic. The stock-still
brick facade of an old church, against which the waves of people
lurch and withdraw. Flare of sunshine down side-streets. Eddies of light
in the windows of chemists' shops, with their blue, gold, purple jars,
darting colours far into the crowd. Loud bangs and tremors,
murmurings out of high windows, whirring of machine belts,
blurring of horses and motors. A quick spin and shudder of brakes
on an electric car, and the jar of a church-bell knocking against
the metal blue of the sky. I am a piece of the town, a bit of blown dust,
thrust along with the crowd. Proud to feel the pavement under me,
reeling with feet. Feet tripping, skipping, lagging, dragging,
plodding doggedly, or springing up and advancing on firm elastic insteps.
A boy is selling papers, I smell them clean and new from the press.
They are fresh like the air, and pungent as tulips and narcissus.

The blue sky pales to lemon, and great tongues of gold blind the shop-windows,
putting out their contents in a flood of flame.

Night and Sleep
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:01 min read
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Amy Lowell

Amy Lawrence Lowell was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. more…

All Amy Lowell poems | Amy Lowell Books

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