Poetry Sunday: Mid-March

Lizette Woodworth Reese was an American poet whom I had never heard of until I went looking for poems about March last week. She lived from 1856 until 1935, and the main theme of her poems was Nature. So it is with the one that I've chosen as my poem of the week.

The mid-March that she describes is that of the East Coast, mid-Atlantic area. Here in the subtropical South it is certainly not too early for white boughs. In fact, many of our white boughs have already come and gone. 

Our trees are leafing out even as I type this and many of my roses have been blooming all winter. Only the moon is the same as the one she describes: "a sword of keen, barbaric gold; Plunged to the hilt into a pitch black cloud." It is a scimitar tonight or, if you prefer, a moon with a Cheshire Cat's smile.


It is too early for white boughs, too late
For snows. From out the hedge the wind lets fall
A few last flakes, ragged and delicate.
Down the stripped roads the maples start their small,
Soft, ’wildering fires. Stained are the meadow stalks
A rich and deepening red. The willow tree
Is woolly. In deserted garden-walks
The lean bush crouching hints old royalty,
Feels some June stir in the sharp air and knows
Soon ’twill leap up and show the world a rose.

The days go out with shouting; nights are loud;
Wild, warring shapes the wood lifts in the cold;
The moon’s a sword of keen, barbaric gold,
Plunged to the hilt into a pitch black cloud.


  1. I like this poem very much. Makes me think of March in Michigan where I used to live.

    1. It could refer to March in any of the northern climes, I think. It's the time of the changing of the seasons and one never knows quite what to expect.

  2. Enjoyed this thank you for sharing

  3. "Barbaric gold", that's quite an image. It seems the author agreed with Jorge Luis Borges. He always referred to the white sun and the yellow moon, whereas I think it is the opposite.

    1. I see the moon as slightly different colors at different times - at rise it is generally more yellow but when it is high overhead, it is definitely white. No doubt atmospheric conditions as well as ambient light from the setting sun color our view.


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