Breaking Spring

seems like a good way to say
I spent all last week feeling helpless
and talking about it in terms of not being

Why can’t compassion change our lives
even half so completely as a suicide bomber,
or half so immediately as a natural disaster

Big ideas get me nowhere, so
the fact that breaking spring feels better
than cracking up is at least a start

toward a walk through Washington Park,
its trees in pink blossom, its white-yellow-purple
Tomorrow I will talk about Frankenstein

in bed and then I will talk about it with people
who are sleeping    I will say that it’s a book
about artistic responsibility    I will

say it’s alive     It’s alive     And some number
of eyes will stare back at me without believing
any of it matters, or without believing

it matters for them       And what can I say
to convince them     I have only my love
to recommend it beyond what it already is

My suspect credibility upon the rockets
of birds, the soft parts of people, the oceans’
inevitable, cyclical weeping     Who has time
for poetry has more time than they deserve


Copyright © 2016 by Matt Hart. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 24, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“As I’m writing this, the Bradford Pear in my front yard is in full blossom. ‘Breaking Spring’ is a reminder to look at it, to be reassured and grateful—to stay alive!—to take nothing for granted. I might note, too, that it was originally three pages long. For about a year now, I’ve been going back to it, periodically pruning its leafscape and chopping at it: O lightning strike monster of spring on the loose, open your dull eyes, breathe hard, convulse!”
—Matt Hart