The World in May Is Leafing Out

As we’ve been driving north from our little houseboat in Key West, we realize that we are also driving into Spring. It’s May, a wonder-full counterpoint to all that is trying to keep winter in our hearts.

The World in May Is Leafing Out 
It’s Matisse on a bicycle. It’s
a great blue heron coloring
outside the lines. The show’s
turned over to the aftermath
of buds. You can love
never thinking
this cliché could turn
to ice. Even nice
can be profound
as worry, even
the creek over the rotting log,
the pansy in the moss-covered
pot. The birds bulge
with song. Mary Cassat
throws open her windows.
Monet drags his pallet,
sits and waits for the paint
to spill across the patina
of his failing sight. Eric Satie
makes his joyous cling
and clang a counterpoint
to dazzle. The earth is rising
in shoots and sprays.
The sky’s as new as rain.
The stubborn doors swing open.

–Jack Ridl

First published in The Listening Eye, Kent State University

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

And, of course, click here to visit, check out what Jack’s been up to, maybe say hi!

10 thoughts on “The World in May Is Leafing Out

  1. Oh Jack…I needed to hear this one today, read this one…say it out loud… hear it. Thank you. And that it appeared first at Kent State….bringing back memories of those times, the song…Buffalo Springfield – “Everybody look what’s going down…”

    All that…washing over me as I read. Safe travels. We need your voice. But oh – that you have it in print – in a way that can keep on giving….


  2. Lovely reminders of the vernal, visual and sonic splendour that graces our experience and a poet who expresses a beautiful impression………………………..Thanks Charles

    • Sandy,
      Ya out metaphored me!!! : )

      Thanks to a chef who cooks like the say Dave Schrec would shake ‘n bake and hit!

  3. Hi, Jack,

    Thanks for this springtime poem.

    I’m a voice from your past. Or, rather, you’re a voice from my past. I graduated from Hope College in December ’75, and while I never had you as a teacher, I have long admired your poetry. I was reminded of you recently, albeit indirectly.

    About six weeks ago I played the organ at a concert in Amsterdam, New York. Also on the program that afternoon was a wind ensemble performing several works by a composer named Samuel Hazo. I wondered whether this Samuel Hazo might be the son of the poet of that same name who visited Hope in 1972. A quick visit to Wikipedia confirmed that this was indeed the case. Sam Jr. graduated from Duquesne, where his father was on the faculty, and went on to become a prominent music educator and composer of band music.

    I clearly recall attending his father’s poetry reading at Hope, and even bought a copy of his book ONCE FOR THE LAST BANDIT. I also clearly remember your reading one of the poems from this book, “To a Commencement of Scoundrels,” at my own Hope commencement service.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for your poetry. I’ve even heard some of it read by Garrison Keillor on THE WRITER’S ALMANAC.

    Although I’ve been earning a livelihood mainly as a church musician for the past 40+ years, I’ve also written and published a fair amount of music. If, by any chance, you have any poems that you think might work well as solo songs or choral music, let me know–I’m always looking for new words to set to music!

    • Hi Al,
      Talk about a joy–this from you! Thank you so very much for these words that certainly help
      keep this scribbler going.

      How about that connection with younger Sam and father Sam. Father Sam was one of the first two poets I ever
      met, back then and there in Pittsburgh. He and Paul Zimmer, both of whom got me on my way. After 50 years, I look
      back and am forever grateful. All the joy that could never have come my way–such as this from you–were it not
      for a punk kid being introduced to them. And that’s astonishing, our connecting through Sam’s collection, your
      attending his reading, and your remembering that poem from your commencement, me up there trembling in front of
      one and all. How would I ever be smiling over all this now were it not for your writing to me!

      Oh how I would love to have you work with any poems of mine. I have a hunch that the ones from Practicing to
      Walk Like a Heron would be the first place to look. If nothing grabs you there, then take a look at those in
      Broken Symmetry. Both collections are available.

      I wish I knew how to tell you how much your message means to me. I can only hope you sense it somehow through
      the dance and song of these sentences.

      I’m so happy to know of your work in church music and your own composing. What a great good gift to bring
      into the days, and especially now.

      Wishing you all the good that there can be,
      Namaste Shalom XXXX

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s