The late Elizabeth Coatsworth was a member of a Maine literary family that included her late husband, Henry Beston, and also includes her daughter, Kate Barnes, a former state poet laureate who lives in Appleton. In this week’s poem, Coatsworth describes the tentative beginning of a Maine spring.

Night Wind in Spring

By Elizabeth Coatsworth

Two yellow dandelion shields do not make spring,

nor do the wild duck swimming by the shore,

so self-possessed, so white of side and breast,

nor, I suppose, the change in the land-birds’ calls,

softened and sweetened to a courting note,

nor the new colors twigs are taking on,

not even the sun which rises early now

and lingers almost until dinner time.

We, too, are valid instruments; we, too, can say

if this be spring or only waning winter.

Tonight the wind is loud about our chimney.

There is no new moon in the sky, nothing but stars:

the Dipper upright on its shining handle,

Sirius bright above a neighbor’s house,

and this wind roaming, not enough to scrape

a branch along the roof, or try the shutters

for one to bang. No, just enough to cry

and cry and cry against the stalwart chimney,

as though it were a wanderer who had come

down half the world to find one only door

and that door locked and nothing answering.