To celebrate the arrival of spring, here is something I wrote in 2006. It was my second published poem. I see a lot of flowers while I am running - but I think snowdrops are my favourite right now; something to do with their tenacity and the way they face the earth and move with the wind. Crocuses' emphatic grandstanding poise and colour is so spilt-yolk-vivid and fecund it almost stops me thinking. Snowdrops give you space to interpret.
I'm tempted to let it stand alone but may as well explain the genesis - Muscovites call the corpses that emerge as the snow melts every spring 'snowdrops'. A bureaucratic minion somewhere has to plot the corpses on a map of the city. It's flawed poetically in places but I kind of like it like that..
The People Call Them Snowdrops
They rise up at the end of winter,
black marks on Moscow's face.
Some turn up like lost coins later
when the addled tumble into puddles
but most of the snowdrops come in the cold
when the city is furred with softening snow.
They cluster at stations to the east
of Red Square: Kurskaya, Rizkhaya,
each bud furled in a rictus grin,
waxed skin wrapping its soul.
A map hangs over the fax machine.
The Sadovoye ring road likes like a rifle target.
On the parchment, people mark
each snowdrop in dark ink.
Still the buds cluster, push up
each week as the weight of water thaws,
their white roots flaoting in puddles, bottles,
muddled dreams, entwined with rats.
This year the map turned black. Too many snowdrops now.
To count. To mourn.