LSS: Spring, poetry and weather on the horizon

On Thursday, Piper, our 10-year-old daughter, went to sleep while I was running errands. By the time we got home, she roused and groggily said, “Usually, I’m bright orange or bright blue — I’m joyful, but right now I’m gray to black.”
I smiled at her colorful language as we got out of the car.
Walking toward the front door, she said, “It’s like my batteries are low. I feel like an Ipod about to stop playing music. I think I need to go recharge.”
I couldn’t help but smile at her perfect description of the way she felt and encouraged her to do what she needed to do to regain her normal vivacity.
Truth be told, I was feeling the same way.
Maybe the heat that did it to us.
While I appreciate the beautiful weather we’re having — and try with all my might to stay in the now, I have this impending dread building inside about what this summer is going to be like.
All these questions run through my head.
– Since we never got rid of the mosquitoes during our so-called winter, will mosquitoes the size of small pick-ups be buzzing around our heads by June?

– How much higher will our electricity bill be since the major-shade providing trees in our front yard were cut last fall?

– Will I be able to handle another Louisiana summer?

Trying to concentrate on something positive rather than thoughts that would keep me awake at night, I did my best to dispense with that train of thought and opted to focus on Piper’s lyrical language. Just one day earlier, as we worked on her schoolwork, she had lamented to me about her struggles with poetry.
I was surprised to hear she approached rhyme and verse with any difficulty since she lives life with such poetic flare.
Plus, I am a die-hard poetry supporter. Poetry makes me smile and life easier to bear. In an effort to share the joy it brings me, every April, I try to commemorate National Poetry Month in some way.
I have taken a variety of approaches. One year, I wrote an entire column in haiku. Last year, I wrote a poem in the form of a pantoum, a little known rhyming poetic form of Persian origin.
Hoping that spring will bring the poetry out in Piper and each of you, I’ll share three poetic offerings I came across in a new book of poetry.
The first is called A Little Madness in the Spring, and I was surprised to see that it was written by Emily Dickinson.

A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown —
Who ponders this tremendous scene —
This whole Experiment of Green —
As if it were his own!

The second, Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost, is my all-time favorite poem:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

And the third, a lesser offering, I’ll call Piper,

Bright orange and blue.
Joy and light, embodiment of you.
Days will come, child,
when you feel gray, black and riled.
Your batteries low,
sluggish and slow.
Take time when available,
recharging with deep breaths inhalable.
Weary is a temporary state.
For you, the world will wait.

Jan Risher’s column, Long Story Short, appears Sundays. Email her at You can also read the column at

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