Rabbits or Tulips
by Theodora Goss
I told the tulips that it’s not spring yet,
but they’re not listening to me.
Instead, they’re poking green leaves out of the ground,
like the ears of rabbits,
and I wonder, idly, if green rabbits are growing
in my garden. When spring comes,
the real spring, in April or May,
will they poke green noses out of the soil,
dig themselves out with little green paws,
shake last autumn’s detritus off their green fur,
will they preen themselves, sitting among the crocuses,
and then proceed to eat the crocuses, as rabbits do?
Will they be, some of them, the color of jade,
some of them the color of malachite,
all different greens, with little green tails,
wreaking destruction in my garden,
just like their brown cousins?
But how could I blame them, if they sprang
from the soil of my garden? And then I think,
would I rather have rabbits or tulips?
And the answer, of course, is
that I want rabbits and tulips, both,
because I am greedy, because I want miracles —
beauty springing up out of the ground,
blossoming like the tulips, explosively,
into all the pinks of ballerina tulle,
and the deep purple of almost-twilight,
and pale yellow like lemon cake.
I want tulips as luminous and pearlescent
as the moon opening its hands
to gather clouds — and I want rabbits.
Green, brown, it doesn’t matter,
twitching their little tails amid a perfect
devastation of tulips.
(The image is Portrait of a Lady with a Rabbit by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio.)
Wonderful images. There is a homeopathic remedy for people who see green rabbits, by the way!