“Spring” by J. R. Solonche

Poems read aloud, beautifully

Alex M. Wang/Flickr
Alex M. Wang/Flickr

Amanda Holmes reads J. R. Solonche’s “Spring.” Have a suggestion for a poem by a (dead) writer? Email us: podcast@theamericanscholar.org. If we select your entry, you’ll win a copy of a poetry collection edited by David Lehman.

This episode was produced by Stephanie Bastek and features the song “Canvasback” by Chad Crouch.

by J. R. Solonche

I see a student is sitting at a table
on the grass in front of the library.
A notebook is opened before him.
A pen is poised in his hand. His head
is tilted up. His eyes are fixed on the air,
or on the sky beyond the air, or on
the blank place between the air
and the sky. I decide he’s about to
write a poem or at least the first line
of a poem. Why else would he be frozen
like that, unmoving, suspended like his pen,
lost in the blank place between the air
and the sky? I want to go over to him
and give him a hand. He looks like
he’s in pain. I want to grab his pen
and help him get the poem out. Across
campus, along the wall of Harriman Hall,
the daffodils are spearing themselves
out of the earth and through the mulch
of dead leaves. They, too, look like
they’re in pain. They look like a dozen
green pens. I want to reach down
and give them a hand. I want to pull
them up the rest of the way. I want
to yell back to the student whose
poem I helped pull out, “Hey, come
help. There are a dozen poems here.
Enough for both of us!”

Reprinted from Leda with permission of the poet

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Amanda Holmes, the author of the novel I Know Where I Am When I’m Falling, is a columnist and poetry editor for the Washington Independent Review of Books.


Please enter a valid email address
That address is already in use
The security code entered was incorrect
Thanks for signing up