Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Welcome, April.  Some Aprils I have felt like the speaker of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Spring”:  “April / Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”  And other Aprils I have shared the sentiment of T.S. Eliot in the opening of The Waste Land:  “April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.”  This April I greet the month with the idea from e.e.cummmgs: “i am not sorry when sun and rain make april”, from his poem of religious faith and conviction, “I am a little church(no great cathedral)”.  Understatement is the key to my spirit.  I am not ecstatic, but I am “not sorry.”

According to The Old Farmer’s 2014 Almanac, the Full Moon, called the Pink Moon, will occur the 15th.  Also on that date, there will be a full lunar eclipse.  That would be something to see, yes, if I were awake that early in the morning.  (Check your almanac to see the time in your region.)  On the page of April, 2014, of the almanac, there is an interesting article under “Farmer’s Calendar” about planting trees and dedicating them to a person or to his or her memory.  The first Arbor Day was celebrated on the 10th of this month.  Arbor Day was once more celebrated than it is now.

March went out like a lamb.  On the penultimate day of March, I stood at a window and looked for a long time at a line of tall trees, hardwoods with two evergreens.  They were being blown by a strong, cold, damp wind.  They sky was grey, dull.  There were occasional short rain showers.  An occasional white speck flew by.  I wondered if it were snowing, but I realized they were blown blossoms.  The day remained cold, windy, overcast, a raw March day.

But the last day dawned clear and warm.  I walked.  Early blooming fruit trees, those not damaged or ruined by the ice storm, are bringing forth blossoms of pink or white.  Daffodils and forsythia are marking spots of yellow.  Dogwood trees are budding.  Wild green onions are evident in almost every yard and lot.

Clean up from the ice storm is almost completed.  CAT vehicles, rented by the town, took up stacks of tree limbs, sometimes chest- and head-high, and made even taller stacks, which were collected by a larger vehicle and removed.  The town put out WARNING ROAD WORK signs on all the residential blocks as they were working.  There was much to clean up.  There will be many fewer places for nests and roosting for birds this spring and summer.

An impertinent question.  Why are you such good friends with ______ ?

Reading.  Nonfiction.  Paul Mariani, Gerard Manley Hopkins (Viking, 2008).  Reading in progress.  I am impressed by Mariani’s use of quotations from letters and journals and selected passages from poetry to tell the life of this great poet.  The reading is compelling and interesting.  I am impressed with the rigor of daily life and academic expectations of Jesuit seminarians of the time.  I celebrate with Hopkins his love of Wales, the people, the landscapes, the language.  It’s the setting of his most popular poems.  I learn of Hopkins’s love of languages and his delight in dialect, rhythms, puns, spelling bees, and regional expressions.  The story of his conversion to Catholicism from the High Anglican tradition shows his thoughtful consideration of the nature of Spirit and reality.  Mariani’s consideration of the poem “The Wreck of the Detuschland,” especially his summary by direct quotations, leaves the reader witness to terrible violence, comparable to the passion of the Christ.  Excellent writing.

Thanks for reading.  I hope your week will be good.  Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of early spring!

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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2 Responses to Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  1. John York says:

    Good blog, Bill. Cummings wrote many fine poems about April. . .Tonight, at dusk, on my walk along Buffalo Creek, I saw a duck flying, then a blue heron, and then bats–three or four, a good omen, I think, knowing that they thrive despite the environmental threats.

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks for that reference to Cummings, Bill. I want to read more of his work. Also, thanks for that review of Paul Mariani’s book. Allen Mandelbaum spoke highly of Mariani.

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