Hello, dear Wordsmiths. How has your April been, so far? Mine has been mostly wet – in a way that does NOT make me share Langston Hughes’s sentiments, below.
We know that Eliot said this was the cruellest month – so memorably that the notion has been widely accepted. I thought it might be interesting to look at what others have said. It turns out that lots of people have said plenty! I chose for your delectation some poems which have for me, and I hope for you, a touch of the unexpected. (Sometimes more than a touch. The connection of Louise Gluck's piece to the month of April seems tenuous at best – but there's something rather paradoxically enjoyable about its irascible tone. And then, the point slowly registers....)
April Rain Song
Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.
– Langston Hughes
Wet Evening in April
The birds sang in the wet trees
And I listened to them it was a hundred years from now
And I was dead and someone else was listening to them.
But I was glad I had recorded for him
– Patrick Kavanagh
No one's despair is like my despair--
You have no place in this garden
thinking such things, producing
the tiresome outward signs; the man
pointedly weeding an entire forest,
the woman limping, refusing to change clothes
or wash her hair.
Do you suppose I care
if you speak to one another?
But I mean you to know
I expected better of two creatures
who were given minds: if not
that you would actually care for each other
at least that you would understand
grief is distributed
between you, among all your kind, for me
to know you, as deep blue
marks the wild scilla, white
the wood violet.
– Louise Gluck
Spring. A great yellow stain.
Forsythias burst and daffodils explode.
Swallows hurry back from Mexico
and are bitten by
the laughing snows of April.
Spring, the smile
of a ninety-year old man
who can't hear a thing you say
yet keeps talking to you nonetheless.
Spring and dreams
have that in common.
– David Kowalczyk
This I saw on an April day:
Warm rain spilt from a sun-lined cloud,
A sky-flung wave of gold at evening,
And a cock pheasant treading a dusty path
Shy and proud.
And this I found in an April field:
A new white calf in the sun at noon,
A flash of blue in a cool moss bank,
And tips of tulips promising flowers
To a blue-winged loon.
And this I tried to understand
As I scrubbed the rust from my brightening plow:
The movement of seed in furrowed earth,
And a blackbird whistling sweet and clear
From a green-sprayed bough.
– James Hearst
I invite you to be inspired by any or all of these: a line or phrase, an idea, a mood, a whole poem … I’ve given you a variety to choose from.
And there's the song, sad yet achingly beautiful, which you may also (or instead) use as inspiration.
You may take issue with something said, if you like.
Or if you’d rather, ignore them all and scribble for us your own story about April.
Some of us have girded up our loins (yet again!) to write a poem a day in April, using one or more of various online prompts. If you would like to share one of those pieces here (from this April, 2021) rather than write yet another new one, that's sufficient connection to April to be acceptable to me, whatever the topic. (I might even do that myself; we'll see.*)
Please tell us somewhere in your post which option you are responding to.
As you know, we welcome poetry and prose. If you choose prose, please keep to 369 words maximum (excluding title).
Then please link, below, to your post on your blog; one entry per person. We love it when you link back to this post from your blog, too. The prompt will stay open all week. Happy scribbling!
*Later: Yes I did select from my April prompt poems, at the last minute, having not found time to write something specially. I have chosen a piece which seems to me suitable for this day in this April, immediately following the verdict in the George Floyd murder case.
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