Poetry Pause: Maureen Hynes — How Spring Begins

Poet name: Maureen Hynes Poem title: How Spring Begins Poem: Is it for miracles we live? −“Hymn to Life,” James Schuyler Tags of songs, like salvaged buttons, always coming undone in my mind, buttonhole stitches unravelling. Titles jotted down, melodies saved to mark recurrent momentary happiness & deepening sadness, the day the secret fifth season starts, & the extra month that is sometimes granted to the faithful & the few. The beginning of each new season imparts a gift, like the shirtless child we saw on Christie Street today, a soccer ball under his pale arm. Or the frozen wallet we pried from a hillside in a park on Monday. Mouldy stench poured out, the mark of a thief who keeps the money & cashable plastic but tosses into the bushes the useless hospital cards & religious medal within. “Mary of the Miracles!” wept the older woman when my friend returned her wallet with the medal that kept her Slovenian father safe through World War One. What colours stained that semi-frozen hillside – mud muck & filth-stricken ice, bare stalk straw. I hate miracles, the lottery of them, the triumphant song, their refusal to become humdrum, predictable, the way they overlook the deserving, the praying poor, the terminally ill. Even though there’s no denying them, I poured my family’s bottle of Lourdes water all around our Manitoba maple. End of poem. Credits: Copyright © Maureen Hynes from Sotto Voce (Brick Books, 2019). Maureen Hynes’s most recent book of poetry is Sotto Voce (2019). Her first book of poetry won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award, and her fourth, The Poison Colour, was shortlisted for both the Raymond Souster and Pat Lowther Awards in 2016. Her work has been included in over 20 anthologies, including The Best of the Best Canadian Poems in English, and twice longlisted for the CBC Canada Reads poetry contest. www.maureenhynes.com.