Vernal Icon, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014
This stunning vernal icon on our mantelpiece was created by collagist Lisa O’Rourke. (No website yet–her work was offered at Tracy Strong’s wonderful studio sale.) Though freshly minted, it strikes an ancient chord in me–a fine untarnished image of fertility that feels at once medieval, and somehow older than Easter.
As an accompaniment, here is “Rabbit,” from my Voices of Animals collection. I often share it in the classroom with young bunnies.
Spring is the heart
of the rabbit. Spring
is the haunch. My ears wing
my sound: melody of morning
runs like water down. My nibble
my gnaw my sweet root. Then danger!
rustling like birdflight,
fans my ceaseless quickenings.
How I love to be afraid!
For I know I am fast—
the holy scent passes my whiskers,
I joy in the whiz of the grass—
know fear’s good; smell speed there.
Blood runs high, worlds blur
in this great bounding game.
The turn the twitch
the switch, the hitched haunch
in twisted white wheat loosed
just before the clamping tooth,
slipping spinning kicking
bare along the pounded bank
Will I make my hole
or float above me watching?
Wished I a safe life I’d live
as a mole! Wriggle short fur
grass tuft tail. I have known
severally this great soaring instant
of death. We die as the grass:
not at all.
How will you enjoy the rites of Spring?