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Spring Tease

20 April, 2015: Spring Tease


by Catherine Criswell
Spring Tease
As sycamores stretch
across cloudless blue sky,
cherry trees don pink petticoats,
we welcome spring,
not tentatively or with rebuke
but with full wet-mouthed kisses
on her warm face.
All is forgiven.
Tulip buds have endured
the weight of one last snow
and then another.
Like us, they are hearty stock.
We unfurl limbs,
tug off heavy boots,
shed thick leather gloves,
bury bare toes
in butter soft blades of grass,
fill holes in the earth
with hands full of seeds
and summer dreams.
Outsiders may scoff
at Cleveland’s long winters
but it is in this city
souls pay attention
to seasonal shifts.
It is here
trees framed by windows
weave a story.
This is no place
for instant gratification.
Spring spins her secrets slowly. 
When leaves finally shake loose
to dance their wild verdant dance,
we rush to join,
taking nothing for granted.
“Spring Tease” by Catherine Criswell, from Songs in the Key of Cleveland: An Anthology of the 2013 Best Cleveland Poem Competition, Ed. John Burroughs. Crisis Chronicles Press, 2014. Used by permission of the author.
Catherine Criswell Spear is a poet who resided in Shaker Heights for 19 years. In May 2014, she relocated to Stanford, California, with her husband, Michael, where she continues to write poetry while enjoying warmer winters.


2014 saw the passing of many notable people.

Write about someone famous who died last year. You can find a list by searching “New York Times Notable Deaths 2014.”
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READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.