Robert Francis



            Spicebush and Witch-Hazel


Spicebush almost the first dark twig to flower
In April woods, witch-hazel last of all–
Six months from flower of spring to flower of fall–
The alpha and omega if you please.
Yet how alike in color, setting, form:
Both blossoms yellow to confirm the sun,
Both borne on bushes that are nearly trees,
Both close to twig though not to keep them warm.
Only the learned might elucidate
Why one blooms early and one blooms late.
Only the wise could tell the wiser one.


Robert Francis, Robert Francis: Collected Poems, 1936-
1976, University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.