Sing me once more your morning litany,
bird shuttling without rest from brittle twig
to naked branch of each unsheltering tree;
promise me shoots, earth still too cold to dig;
pronounce yourself again, green blessing, kiss
of the sun; persuade me, bees, do not be
read me the names of months kinder than this,
remind me of the taste of summer fruit.
The heart is stubborn in its unbelief,
remembering how beginnings harden down
to this recurrent metaphor for grief.
Geese pouring north above my wintry town,
you've heard some news, you know why you return:
teach me, again, again, until I learn.
Rhina P. Espaillat
Landscapes with Women: Four American Poets,
Singular Speech Press, © 1999.
Reprinted by permission
of the author.