Dennis O’Driscoll
Spare Us
   Spare us the spring. 
Spare us its garish light.
Spare us the nerve-thumping 
rhythms of hopping balls: 
empty vessels, sterile leather eggs.

Spare us the false optimism, 
the short-term vision, the hint 
that winter has been dealt a fatal blow,
that days will keep on stretching, 
an economy in boom. 

Spare us the emotion of 
the choked-up lawnmower
champing at resurgent grass.

And spare us, no less, the need 
for wonder: it demands 
too much suspension of belief.

Spare us our jaundiced view 
of daffodils, those clichéd ingénues 
that wizen limply into spineless stalks.

Spare us the tawdry pink 
of cherry blossoms, 
so precariously attached 
to branches
they are bound to fall to pieces, 
crumble at the first 
blusterings of a gale.

Spare us the shivering snowdrops,
paling quickly to insignificance, 
their holier-than-thou aura 
melting like Communion hosts.

Spare us the scare tactics 
of invading dandelions, 
that urine splash from which 
no clump of grass, 
no roadside verge is safe.

Lump in the leaves - it will be left to us 
to pick up their pieces, rummage 
through their trash when the tree market 
crashes and stocks are in freefall.

And spare us lilacs, scent so over-ripe 
suspicion of some cover-up is strong.

Spare us the lambs – bouncing 
with complete abandon, needing 
no counsel of a carpe diem nature, 
peeking from the milk-white fleece 
of their mothers’ blanket coverage, 
or savouring mint-green grass
 – on whom we pin dark, 
raddle-marked declarations of intent.

Spare us the ardent couples 
conferring at the paint store, torn 
conspiratorially between Dewberry Frost 
emulsion and velvet-finish Moonlight Bay.

Spare us the bees raiding every flower in sight,
leaving no anther pocket unturned.
And the tantrum-throwing wasps, 
in venomous mood, headbutting glass.

Spare us the spurned bird, egg on its face,
its singsong persistence in soliciting a mate,
its loutish whistling at wing-batting females.

And spare us the dawn chorus 
that outwears its welcome 
like a loquacious breakfast guest. 

Spare us, therefore, the spring, 
its fake sincerity, its unethical 
marketing strategies, its deceptive 
pledges, its built-in obsolescence, 
its weeds breeding like flies. 
Found In Volume 41, No. 01
Read Issue
  • dennis odriscoll
Dennis O’Driscoll
About the Author

Dennis O’Driscoll was born in Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1954. He wrote eight books of poetry, three chapbooks and a collection of essays and reviews. He also edited and compiled contemporary quotations about poets and poetry, and published a book of his dialogues with Seamus Heaney. 


His last collection, Dear Life, was published posthumously by Copper Canyon Press in 2013.