The sun has broken a sudden sweat
And the ditch gushes febrile, unstaunched.
Spring, like the stocky dairymaid,
Holds in its hands the foaming warmth.
How wan the snow; it has the green sickness
Thin blue twigs are its feeble veins
But life comes steaming from the cowshed
And the pitchfork plumps the healthy hay.
These days, these days and nights!
Midday, and the drip and clatter
Of consumptive icicles, wasting away
In rivulets of unceasing chatter.
The stable and byre doors are thrown wide.
Pigeons in the snow, pecking up seeds
And all this is the source and the giver of life:
The manure smells of the fresh breeze.
Sasha Dugdale is a poet, translator and editor of Modern Poetry in Translation.