April 2017

Musings in April: Thomas Tusser

“Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers.”

Art for April – Martin Johnson Heade: “April Showers”

Musings in April: Edna St. Vincent Millay

“Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”

Art for April – Arthur Hughes: “April Love”

A Poem for April

By Sara Teasdale

The roofs are shining from the rain,
The sparrows twitter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.

Yet the back yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree–
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.

Art for April – Johannes Larsen: “Gusty Weather in April”

Musings in April: Wallace Stevens

“Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!”

Art for April – Henri Lebasque: “Woman on a Garden Bench”

Musings in April: Mark Twain

“The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”

Art for April – Philippe Faraut: “Spring” (sculpture)

A Second Poem for April

“Distressed Haiku”
By Donald Hall

In a week or ten days
the snow and ice
will melt from Cemetery Road.

I’m coming! Don’t move!

Once again it is April.
Today is the day
we would have been married
twenty-six years.

I finished with April
halfway through March.

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.

Will Hall ever write
lines that do anything
but whine and complain?

In April the blue
mountain revises
from white to green.

The Boston Red Sox win
a hundred straight games.
The mouse rips
the throat of the lion

and the dead return.

Art for April – Stanley Royle: “April Snow”

Musings in April: Edwin Way Teale

“The seasons, like greater tides, ebb and flow across the continents.  Spring advances up the United States at the average rate of about fifteen miles a day.  It ascends mountainsides at the rate of about a hundred feet a day.  It sweeps ahead like a flood of water, racing down the long valleys, creeping up hillsides in a rising tide.  Most of us, like the man who lives on the bank of a river and watches the stream flow by, see only one phase of the movement of spring.  Each year the season advances toward us out of the south, sweeps around us, goes flooding away to the north.” – From “North With the Spring” (a wonderful book)

Art for April – Childe Hassam: “April (The Green Gown)”

A Third Poem for April

By Alicia Ostriker

The optimists among us
taking heart because it is spring
skip along
attending their meetings
signing their e-mail petitions
marching with their satiric signs
singing their we shall overcome songs
posting their pungent twitters and blogs
believing in a better world
for no good reason
I envy them
said the old woman

The seasons go round they
go round and around
said the tulip
dancing among her friends
in their brown bed in the sun
in the April breeze
under a maple canopy
that was also dancing
only with greater motions
casting greater shadows
and the grass
hardly stirring

What a concerto
of good stinks said the dog
trotting along Riverside Drive
in the early spring afternoon
sniffing this way and that
how gratifying the cellos of the river
the tubas of the traffic
the trombones
of the leafing elms with the legato
of my rivals’ piss at their feet
and the leftover meat and grease
singing along in all the wastebaskets

Art for April – Adam Long: “Spring Awakens” (sculpture)

Musings in April: William Cowper

“But it is a sort of April-weather life that we lead in this world. A little sunshine is generally the prelude to a storm.”

Below – Liam Rainsford: “Prelude to a Storm”

Art for April – Nancy Bush: “April Hillside Fog”

A Fourth Poem for April

“Song of a Second April”
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

April this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago,
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
Of dazzling mud and dingy snow;
Hepaticas that pleased you so
Are here again, and butterflies.

There rings a hammering all day,
And shingles lie about the doors;
In orchards near and far away
The grey wood-pecker taps and bores;
The men are merry at their chores,
And children earnest at their play.

The larger streams run still and deep,
Noisy and swift the small brooks run
Among the mullein stalks the sheep
Go up the hillside in the sun,
Pensively,—only you are gone,
You that alone I cared to keep.

Art for April – John Salminen: “April in Central Park”

Musings in April: William Shakespeare

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”

Below – Photograph by Dolly Whitley

A Fifth Poem for April

By Louise Gluck

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.

Art for April – Zhang Hongniai: “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”

Musings in April: T. S. Eliot

“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”

Below – Tanja Vetter: “April is the cruelest month”

Art for April – Yuri Klapoukh: “April Showers

Musings in April: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“Snow in April is abominable,” said Anne. “Like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.”

Art for April – Fritz Klimsch: “Spring” (bronze)

Musings in April: Shunryu Suzuki

“The world is its own magic.”

A Sixth Poem for April

From “A Calendar of Sonnets: April”
By Helen Hunt Jackson

No days such honored days as these! While yet
Fair Aphrodite reigned, men seeking wide
For some fair thing which should forever bide
On earth, her beauteous memory to set
In fitting frame that no age could forget,
Her name in lovely April’s name did hide,
And leave it there, eternally allied
To all the fairest flowers Spring did beget.

Below – Aphrodite and Flowers

Art for April – Mark Haworth: “April Rain”

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