This morning’s northern-hemisphere vernal equinox was a couple hours ago, so here’s my traditional spring post, even though it’s raining here this week.

For winter's rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remember'd is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

—Algernon Charles Swinburne, from “Atalanta in Calydon” (1865)

The silence of the trees and quiescence of the wind were nature's hope and disbelief that winter had passed, a time when the wild terrain holds its breath before rejoicing, for fear of calling back the bright blue northerns and the snow.

—Mark Helprin, from Winter's Tale, p. 262 of the 1984 Pocket edition

Though a country be sundered, hills and rivers endure;

And spring comes green again to trees and grasses

Where petals have been shed like tears

And lonely birds have sung their grief.

—Du Fu, from “A Spring View” (c. 750), trans. Witter Bynner

Note: The site I used to link to for that last verse is gone, and when I went looking for another source, I found some other translations and some background info, and now I’m more hesitant; I’m not sure that poem is really about what I thought it was about. (Some examples: Translation by unknown-to-me translator; Kathleen Graber’s translation; Hugh Grigg’s translation; Stephen Owen’s translation, plus some historical context; Notes on translating this poem.) But I’ll leave it in place this year. (Also, I had been writing the poet’s name as Tu Fu, but I see now that the name is transliterated almost everywhere as Du Fu.)

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