Joseph Auslander

Unfurl the Flags of April

Frail larch shadows glimmer liquidly
Edged with the tremor of bewildered rain;
The pines are stenciled lank and vaporously
In oscillating mist; roots writhe and strain
To one more cool wet grasp of earth: O Spring,
In hollows where the stealthy tumult hums
A vehemence of rich remembering,
Unfurl the flags of April! Beat your drums!

In every corner of the woods and valleys
Trembles the little talk of violets;
Gust after gust leaps out, flaps loose, then rallies;
The reed tastes fire, the white dove tenderly frets;
I walk on the brink of beauty shivering:
Unfurl your flags and beat your drums, O Spring!


First published in The North American Review in 1922, this poem is now in public domain.


Joseph Auslander was the first person to serve as Poet Consultant at the Library of Congress and the longest serving (from 1937 to 1941). Auslander published six volumes of poems; his best known is The Unconquerables (1943), poems addressed to the war-torn, German-occupied countries of Europe. Auslander attended Harvard University and the Sorbonne in Paris, taught at Columbia University and served as the poetry editor for the North American Review and The Measure. He translated poems from Italian and French. To read more about this author, see Dan Vera's "The Library and its Laureates: The Examples of Auslander, Williams, Dickey & Kumin"