09 April 2010

Poem for spring

I don't usually take the time to read the poems in The New Yorker, but this one caught my eye a few weeks ago because of its biblical reference. It may have been more appropriately read when it was published (the March 22 issue), because since then it feels as if we've bypassed Spring and landed squarely in Summer.

The poem's title is "Ecclesiastes 11:1," which reads: "Cast your bread upon the waters, and you will find it after many days."

Ecclesiastes 11:1

We must cast our bread
Upon the waters, as the
Ancient preacher said,

Trusting that it may
Amply be restored to us
After many a day.

That old metaphor,
Drawn from rice farming on the
River's flooded shore,

Helps us to believe
That it's no great sin to give,
Hoping to receive.

Therefore I shall throw
Broken bread, this sullen day,
Out across the snow,

Betting crust and crumb
That birds will gather, and that
One more spring will come.

--Richard Wilbur

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