I generally prefer February to January. It’s a shorter month, and it always ends in March. It benefits from not sitting next to Christmas, and is not tarnished by the comparative lack of joy, presents, bright lights and good-will. So I have been trying to find some uplifting verse to match my monthly preference…
And maybe I’m onto a loser because most poetry tends towards the melancholy anyway, but February does not seem to inspire any lightness at all. Ted Hughes, I love you, but your words are stones and flints and have no remorse. Ezra Pound, I like you too, but your words have become argument’s whores. Margaret Attwood, you may have cats in your poem, but you can’t fool me, I know there is something dark at the heart.And John Clare, sorry, I just can’t trust you, it’s too Romantic and too sane. So, on the strength of his third stanza and not because he offers February in any genteel or fluffy kind of way, I give you Boris Pasternak:
February. Get ink. Weep.
Write the heart out about it. Sing
Another song of February
While raucous slush burns black with spring.
Six grivnas* for a buggy ride
Past booming bells, on screaming gears,
Out to a place where rain pours down
Louder than any ink or tears
Where like a flock of charcoal pears,
A thousand blackbirds, ripped awry
From trees to puddles, knock dry grief
Into the deep end of the eye.
A thaw patch blackens underfoot.
The wind is gutted with a scream.
True verses are the most haphazard,
Rhyming the heart out on a theme.
*Grivna: a unit of currency.