ODE TO FALSE SPRING
The birds were all atwitter
in the bony, barren trees
Oh, could it be that spring was here
To rout grim winter's freeze?
The dirty snow was melting
Melting like our winter hearts
I'd swear I heard once long ago
That this is how spring starts.
The temp'rature was sixty
Yellow sun had pierced the gray
The air felt kind as feathers, 'twas
A picturebook spring day!
No longer did I hate the world
Yes, life again looked bright
The stormy moods, the deep black thoughts
Had just been lack of light!
I heard the lilt of music
Strains of violins and lutes
I tossed aside my winter gloves
Kicked off my cruddy boots.
I opened up the windows and
I dreamed of summer sports
I even sifted through my drawers
and pulled out skimpy shorts.
And then as I was gazing
At my pasty winter thighs
A voice came out of nowhere
And it took me by surprise.
"You call this spring, you sucker?"
cried the ghost of winters past.
"you really think you've seen the end
Of winter's icy blast?
"You think you're out in Tucson
Or that you're some Georgia peach?
You're living in Wisconsin, hon
This ain't no Tampa beach."
I turned to see this cranky voice~~
A pinched and gnarly guy
His face was raw and red as rage
H scratched his crusty eye.
"For years you're in Wisconsin
And you still don't get this thing?
A day or two of warmth in March?
That's what we call false spring!"
"It's phony as a breast implant
Like Britney, it's a tease
It's fickle as some lovers
And as fake as processed cheese."
I reached up toward his collar
And I pried his wool scarf loose
"No wonder you're so grumpy, sir
Your scarf is like a noose."
He cackled then he coughed and
Then he cleared his throat and spat
His phlegm soared through the balmy air
And landed with a splat.
"Two days from now," he muttered
"Wisconsin's days will not be nice!
The wind will whip up from the lake
That spit will all be ice."
I felt the blue sky darken then
My body shook with chills
I hugged my sweater closer
Tried to think of daffodils.
"So tell me, ghost of winters past,
If springtime now is false
How long must poor Wisconsin wait
To do a springtime waltz?"
He said, "Dear girl you surely know
That springtime here is cursed!
Why, here it's normal if it snows
On April twenty first!:
"So keep you shovel handy
And don't put away your coat
Steer clear of all your Sunbelt friends
'Cause all they'll do is gloat."
And so the old man shuffled off
He gave a little wave,
"Real spring will come by June, my friend
'Til then you must be brave."
From Mary Schmich's column in the Chicago Tribune.