There is a short poem by one of the Romantic German poets that to my mind is all about this day. Spring equinox. The first day of spring.
(The Romantic era in Europe was at its peak during the first half of the 19th century. It was all about emotions and passion and expressing one's feelings, while remaining very male and suffering for it - think Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther.)
Anyway, the poem. It's by Eduard Mörike, who started out as a young suffering artist, all the heart ache of a poet and a musician with passion and feeling, briefly became a Lutheran pastor and eventually had a career as a respected professor of literature. I must admit, I don't know much else about him despite my
But this one poem, almost everybody knows some of it. Nine short lines. My parent's generation learnt it by heart, my generation did it for fun. I remember the day when my third grade teacher read it to the class on that first day of spring and how later, during recess, we were reciting it in dramatic or whimsical voices, giggling even. I also remember that it was a cold and rainy day, that the wheels of my bicycle had skidded on the mucky field track we used as a shortcut to school and that as a result, my shoes were filthy. I remember thinking, how can this mucky, wet day be the first day of spring. I was nine years old.
There are a couple of weird and wondrous translations online, I opt for this one by an anonymous source (the German original is here):
Spring's blue ribbon
flutters through the air again.
Sweet familiar scents
drift over the countryside, full of promise.
Violets are already dreaming
of their time to come.
Listen - the soft sound of a distant harp.
It must be you, spring.
It is you I have heard.
Some years ago, on the first day of spring, a friend working at the local whole food co-op draped a silky blue ribbon over the front doors. Just a ribbon that fluttered ever so slightly when the doors opened. And every time someone stopped and mumbled or quoted or spoke or sang at least the first line of that poem, she discretely put a tick on a tally list. But only for the first hour. Because literally everybody who walked into the shop that day did that, some unconsciously, almost automatically, but mostly with a smile.
That's school for you. Powerful romantic stuff they teach you there. And that poem, it's still on the curriculum, I checked.