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Poem for Spring

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky recites a springtime verse.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Finally tonight, former Poet Laureate and NewsHour regular Robert Pinsky considers the downside of spring.

  • ROBERT PINSKY:

    In springtime, some people grow misty-eyed with allergies to pollen. The poet Lynne McMahon greets the season gladly, but with the recognition of the hay fever sufferer's fate at this coming time of year.

    Here is Lynne McMahon's poem "Spring."

    We begin now our interior life, the life of the mind, I'm tempted to say, but really we're driven in by the flowering plum, the lilac,

    the early April greens sending their brilliant toxins to flame and stagger over the delicate sclera of the eye, to sheet like tearing silk down the throat

    swanned in an arch to clear a breathing space, now that breathing's a conscious thing. We swell and dwindle on a histamine tide,

    the bone bowl around a sea that hesitates to finally overtake us, though it drives out or subsumes nearly everything, obligations and errands,

    the small spiny creatures of the day. Not that we're ungrateful for these walled-in glooms and filtering machines, the pharmacopeia

    of everyday life that allows ussome measure of perception. We can see in fact that our debility is minor, perhaps even a privilege,

    a god's eye warding off tuberclesand metastasis- a seasonal and temporary strangulation whose recurrence we can count on

    as on little else in the world, a little luck choking and stinging its way into our heads where the welcome lies disguised as tears.

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