April is here! I’m not a fan of April Fool’s Day which is fine since the human, furred and feathered beings I live with do not appear to celebrate, and I wouldn’t have any idea how to fool them. We lead a simple life here on the farm, and I think a prank would stand out too much to be seen for anything except what it is.
I do LOVE that April is National Poetry Month. We, as a species, do not read enough poetry, I think. It’s too hard or too deep or too esoteric, perhaps, and demands a stillness and thoughtfulness that is hard to carve out in our always on lives. April has been celebrated in poetry from T.S .Eliot’s famous opening to The Waste Land:
April is the cruellest month, breedings
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
to Chaucer’s Prologue to the Canterbury Tales:
WHEN that Aprilis, with his showers swoot,
The drought of March hath pierced to the root,
And bathed every vein in such licour,
Of which virtue engender’d is the flower;
When Zephyrus eke with his swoote breath
Inspired hath in every holt and heath
The tender croppes* and the younge sun
Hath in the Ram <1> his halfe course y-run,
And smalle fowles make melody,
That sleepen all the night with open eye,
(So pricketh them nature in their corages);
Then longe folk to go on pilgrimages,
And palmers <2> for to seeke strange strands,
To ferne hallows couth in sundry lands;
And specially, from every shire’s end
Of Engleland, to Canterbury they wend,
The holy blissful Martyr for to seek,
That them hath holpen, when that they were sick.
My plans for National Poetry Month include reading as much by Wendell Berry as I can, creating some book spine poetry and deciding what poem to carry around with me on Poem in Your Pocket day, which will take place on April 21 this year.
Here’s your bit of poetry for today. Berry’s poem “The Peace of Wild Things” is one of my favorites. A collage created around the text of my poem hangs by my desk.
Listen to Wendell Berry reading The Peace of Wild Things
And as a final treat…the choral version of the poem by Joan Szymko. There are lots of renditions available on YouTube. This one is from the NJ All State Chorus in 2010: