This is from “April Chores” by Jane Kenyon – from today’s Writers Almanac (where you can also read the whole poem):
Like a mad red brain
the involute rhubarb leaf
thinks its way up
I love that image – that odd “mad red brain” energy taking us by surprise, and then the rhubarb leaf thinking its way up, reminding us how deliberate that energy is; how much effort Spring takes. It is an acknowledgement of opposites. It’s both volitional and involuntary, introspective yet explosive -the “On” button has been pressed for a new season and the world bursts open.
The word “involute” means “rolled inward, from the edge” as in the edge of a leaf. I love that idea of something curling inward in all its reflexive and tender self-protection and then the intentionality of coming up through the soil.
“Involute” also means “complex”.
I think the whole poem turns on that one word. Perfect.