Mad for March

blue berries round 
piny and pungent 
Juniper berries found

overwinter fermented 
devoured by birds 
soon demented 

from the blue escape 
mad as March hares 
burst with Joy’s grape 

Copyright 2022 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: Generally Juniper is a side note in a poem, a subtle flavor in gin, but it has its own life where its berries would be leading ladies, if written by the birds — penning poems like John Keats in his Ode to a Nightingale: “Tasting of Flora and the country green,/ Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!” Amy Lowell in Vintage: “I will mix me a drink of stars,—/ Large stars with polychrome needles.” And Ben Johnson in To Celia, “The thirst that from the soul doth rise.” The scent of juniper is a natural magic, and its berries leaven a dull month — at least for the birds. Watching their antics is a welcome distraction in a dark time.

“Roses and gladioles make up bright mounds
Of flowers, with juniper and aniseed;
While sage, all newly cut for this great need,
Covers the Persian carpet that is spread
Beneath the table, and so helps to shed
Around a perfume of the balmy spring.
Beyond is desolation withering.”

— from Eviradnus by Victor Hugo

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