When the coming of spring is violent - On Derek Sheffield's poem Bye-Bye

Here are some thoughts on the poem "Bye-Bye" by Derek Sheffield

Everything happens in Spring. Creation, Preservation and Destruction. The cycle of life goes on. It is interesting, how the poet takes a negative angle on Spring, mostly used by poets of yore as the positive season, full of life and activity. Here the spring is the one who is violent, disturbing the serenity and pure whiteness of snow.  

The poet starts out with death on the subject of Spring:

The animal of winter is dying,
its white body everywhere
in collapse and stabbed at
by straws of   light,

Winter is leaving.  It is leaving like an animal would die. How apt for winter to be an animal - seasons are like organisms that are alive, and then they die.  It is as if straws of light were stabbing snow everywhere and making snow melt.  Thus a calm season is being replaced by a violent one.

                       a leaving
to believe in as the air
slowly fills with darkness

The whiteness is giving way to darkness.  Solidity is giving way to liquidity.

and water drains from the tub
where my daughter, watching it
lower around her, feeling it
go, says about the only thing
she can

The change of season -- the whiteness giving way to darkness, and solidity giving way to liquidity -- is witnessed by the poet's daughter.  This is th new world she will inherit.  She cannot do much about it.

       as if it were a long-
kept breath going with her
blessing of dribble and fleck.

The daughter views this change of season as if it were a long-kept breath.  It is inevitable for this to happen. The small blessings that she has are also sinking along with the melted water.

Down it swirls a living drill
vanishing toward a land
where tomorrow already
fixes its bright eye on a man
muttering his way into a crowd,
saying about the only thing
he can before his body
goes boom.

This change, noticeable by the daughter in a subtle mannger now, will manifest in larger ways in the future (tomorrow). In the future there will be people who go into a crowd and blow themselves to pieces.

           And tomorrow,
I will count more dark shapes
tumbling from the sky, birds
returning to scarcity, offering
in their seesawing songs
a kind of   liquidity.

Because of the bombs, some birds will fall from the sky returning to scarcity -- less from where we started from.  The falling birds have dark shapes compared to the whiteness of the snow that we started from.  The birds' songs are seesawing from solidity to liquidity.  From presence to destruction.   From peace to terrorism and back and forth.

A new season of suicide bombings and terrorism is what the daughter will grow up in. We would have lost the solidity of our old season.  A sinking liquidity would have taken over instead.