Spring's a Right Jack-the-Lad
The bad boy. The icicles are crying,
poor little icicles. The thaw is speeding,
laughing as it sweeps a world away.
The stillness has gone: that special snow-hush.
The trillion masterpieces of frost or flake art
are all lost as Spring leaps into view.
The birds have started yelling:
"Hey, mate with me love! Cheer up,
it might never happen. Oi,
what're you looking at? I was here first!
Get lost, pal, if you know what's good
for you. Hey love, come on, mate with me.
I'm dead flash, me."
Winter gives a final pale smile and sweeps
back her hair as she glides away
over the last of the ice.
Now Spring is here with his fake tan
and his tacky clashing clothes, his nonstop laugh,
his bad jokes and violent perfume.
At night a vixen screams. She knows.
Spring hears, wonders why Winter always,
always flees from him. Is he that bad?
Spring sits brooding. And the rain begins to fall,
to steal music back in brave tinkles
before the merciless Summer comes.
Judge's Comments -
What I like best about this poem is the playful tone and consistent, clear voice. The birds singing in slang was delightful. I keep coming back to the line, "I'm dead flash, me." Birdsong is, in fact, largely a matter of "mate with me" and "Oi!/ what're you looking at?" I love the lack of sentimentality, as well. The poet does an excellent job of capturing that ambivalence of spring's arrival in the line "At night a vixen screams. She knows / Spring hears . . . " The ambiguity of that line break works marvelously, and the double meaning of "vixen" adds an interesting depth. Imagining spring as "tacky" and "fake" isn't, perhaps, usual -- but that's what made this poem stand out for me. Everyone loves spring, but of course we do: he's the bad boy, and everyone loves the bad boys. That's a fresh view of the change of the seasons, which is not the easiest topic to keep fresh. The title, as well, adds a lot to this poem. It's impossible, in reading it, not to fall into my best approximation of a Cockney accent.
Author's Comments -
As long as I have heating and good food, I adore winter. I love the peace of it, and it's always a shame when Spring comes blaring in like the annoying office joker. I've wanted to write a poem about this for ages but not quite got round to it, so I was delighted with STC's prompt.
Cathy Bryant worked as a life model, civil servant and childminder before writing as a profession. She has won 26 literary awards and writing contests, including the Wergle Flomp Humorous Poetry Contest, the Balticon SF Poetry Contest and the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and has blogged for the Huffington Post. She co-edited the anthologies Best of Manchester Poets vols. 1, 2 and 3 and has had two books of poetry published: Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature (Puppywolf, 2010) and Look at All the Women (Mother's Milk, 2014), as well as a nonfiction book: 'How to Win Writing Competitions' (Puppywolf 2015). See Cathy's listings for cash-strapped writers at www.compsandcalls.com .