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Spare Us

Spare us the spring.
Spare us its garish light.
Spare us the nerve-thumping
rhythms of hopping balls:
empty vessels, sterile leather eggs.

Spare us the false optimism,
the short-term vision, the hint
that winter has been dealt a fatal blow,
that days will keep on stretching,
an economy in boom.

Spare us the emotion of
the choked-up lawnmower
champing at resurgent grass.

And spare us, no less, the need
for wonder: it demands
too much suspension of belief.

Spare us our jaundiced view
of daffodils, those clichéd ingénues
that wizen limply into spineless stalks.

Spare us the tawdry pink
of cherry blossoms,
so precariously attached
to branches
they are bound to fall to pieces,
crumble at the first
blusterings of a gale.

Spare us the shivering snowdrops,
paling quickly to insignificance,
their holier-than-thou aura
melting like Communion hosts.

Spare us the scare tactics
of invading dandelions,
that urine splash from which
no clump of grass,
no roadside verge is safe.

Lump in the leaves—it will be left to us
to pick up their pieces, rummage
through their trash when the tree market
crashes and stocks are in freefall.

And spare us lilacs, scent so over-ripe
suspicion of some cover-up is strong.

Spare us the lambs—bouncing
with complete abandon, needing
no counsel of a carpe diem nature,
peeking from the milk-white fleece
of their mothers’ blanket coverage,
or savouring mint-green grass
—on whom we pin dark,
raddle-marked declarations of intent.

Spare us the ardent couples
conferring at the paint store, torn
conspiratorially between Dewberry Frost
emulsion and velvet-finish Moonlight Bay.

Spare us the bees raiding every flower in sight,
leaving no anther pocket unturned.
And the tantrum-throwing wasps,
in venomous mood, headbutting glass.

Spare us the spurned bird, egg on its face,
its singsong persistence in soliciting a mate,
its loutish whistling at wing-batting females.

And spare us the dawn chorus
that outwears its welcome
like a loquacious breakfast guest.

Spare us, therefore, the spring,
its fake sincerity, its unethical
marketing strategies, its deceptive
pledges, its built-in obsolescence,
its weeds breeding like flies.

Dennis O'Driscoll

American Poetry Review

January / February 2012

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