Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Hath Thirty Days

April cold with dripping rain 
   Willows and lilacs brings again.     
                                                                               ~Ralph Waldo Emerson                                                                                         

This, from today's calendar in The Old Farmer's Almanac: Folly and learning often dwell together.

And this:

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.
~From The Year, by Sara Coleridge

I'm attempting to muster some writerly mojo. I've been in a royal funk since Sheila bid farewell to the earth twelve days ago. Mother gave me an aromatic, wild Irish rose plant in memory of my wild, crazy-enough-to-grab-hold-of-life (as Sheila's nephew said in his eloquent eulogy for her) Irish friend. It blushes just as blithely as Sheila did. I'll make room for it in the front beds, where it will get plenty of sunshine and attention. Or perhaps I'll plant it at the family camp in Maine, where Sheila loved to watch the sun fall to pulsing purple beyond the lake on a late summer evening.

A couple of days ago I was reminded that April is National Poetry Month. For English class, Lulu's been scratching out various kinds of poems (you'd think that, alone, would have cast a fine hue of clues in my direction—seems I haven't been fully present). Last night, Lu embellished her poetry e-book with the requisite glitter and art, and asked me to take a look at it before she turned the project in today. I scanned the pages to find that not only was Lu's poetic mojo intact, but that some of her poems also demonstrated that folly and learning do, indeed, often dwell together (although, not always in the manner implied by the old proverb). By Lulu:

A Limerick:

Her name was Sam
And she loved ham
But soon
A loon
Took Sam and all her ham

A Clerihew Poem:

His name is Max
He can’t pay tax
When he walks in the room
All the glass goes kaboom

And finally, something a bit more subdued:

A Prepositional Poem:

Hope:
Inside the house
Under the stars
Among the river
Through the brush
Above the trees
Near the land
Over the sea
Hidden in sand
Past the surface
Into the heart
Before the beginning
After the start
Inside us all

Daisies at my feet; primrose sweet. Loons and kabooms. Whatever April brings, I shall awaken to receive it. Stay open to it. Even a silly poem. Even rain. Even hope.

*  *  *

I'll be on a short blog break from today through April 22nd, and will hope to return with my mojo. For National Poetry Month, you may want to check the goings on over at Poetry Foundation. And at POETS.org you'll find thirty ways to celebrate poetry this April.

42 comments:

  1. Jayne, it seems the little acorn has not fallen far from the tree as Lu has demonstrated with her unbridled usage of everything and anything that came into her fertile mind. It reminds me of the book by Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones. It's an amazing book guaranteed to stimulate the mojo muscles.
    Right now it seems it is a time for you to rest and allow April's sweet scent to inspire and soothe you. Let it all come to you Jayne. Simply be.
    Sending a hug—a big one;)

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    1. She does love to write, Leah! Ok, so I'm writing down Writing Down the Bones... I'll see if I can pick it up before I take off for a little mojo restorative vacation. ;)
      Thanks for that big hug, Leah--means a lot to me.

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  2. I love that prepositional poem. "Past the surface, Into the heart." Excellent work, Lulu!

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    1. I think writing the poems, too, is an effective way to get students to remember what the heck a preposition is. Now, if she'd just write some antecedent poems... ;)

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  3. Jayne, I am deeply sorry for your loss and hope and pray that blushing Sheila's passing will somehow trigger something within you. I imagine, though, gestation might take a good deal of time.

    'Last night, Lu embellished her poetry e-book with the requisite glitter'

    Love the above.

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    1. Suze- Thank you.
      Gestation. Oh man, I hope it doesn't take as long as it did with my two pregnancies. Those babies were in no hurry to be welcomed to the big bad world. ;)

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    2. Full gestation is perhaps most exhausting because of its deep discomfort, especially toward the end. Our work as artists carries with it more discomfort than I ever would have guessed, but you have a singular seed, here. I've been thinking about your post on and off and just sense that something deeply satisfying could come of your royal funk.

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    3. Oh Suze- I hope you're right about that. See, I'm open to hope! But I can't help think of Jack Gilbert's poem Waking At Night from The Dance Most of All:
      The blue river is gray at morning
      and evening. There is twilight
      at dawn and dusk. I lie in the dark
      wondering if this quiet in me now
      is a beginning or an end.
      I want to, I do want to, lean toward I'm just beginning. ;)

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    4. There is so much life in your quiet. I do not believe in ends and beginnings unless I see them as cycles. Some cycles are far more powerful than others, and I think they tend to come on the heels of very deep soulical experiences like mourning, yearning and an ardent though stilled state of heart.

      This is where I see you.

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  4. Sorry for your loss, Jayne. Somehow I missed that post. I'm sending you a warm hug in friendship. I mourn with you...

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    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts and that warm hug, Loree. :)

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  5. Hi- I liked all her poems. Taxes and ravenous loons aside, there is a certain joy and happiness in her observations. The last one particularly struck me. "Before the beginning,after the start,inside all of us." Beautiful. Helpful words for what your going through right now. Peace be with you.

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    1. Ravenous loons! I wonder if that's what the girl thinks of our loons up at the lake. I'm going to have to watch them more closely this summer.

      I like the Hope poem, too, Scott. I felt the same way about the words. I was pretty amazed by the number of poems she'd written in total. It's funny, once the kids get to a certain age they stop showing you everything they produce. And I suppose I don't ask quite as much, these days, to see what they've done for school (well, I don't think I ask to see anything--I think they're at an age where they know to ask if they need help). I'm often surprised by what they're doing in middle/high school--some things I've long forgot, or probably never learned (too busy passing notes in class:)).

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  6. The rose bush from your mother was a thoughtful gift. She must be a kind and thoughtful lady. I hope it blooms brilliantly in remembrance of your friend.

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    1. Yes, she is a very thoughtful lady, Leonora. So far, the rose plant is looking well. Today's rain really cheered it! (Not me, though. All day! Hoping for lots of sun during April's school break.)

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  7. "Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone"

    Take a break Jayne. We'll be here waiting.

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    1. Yep. Funeral blues, Bill. Break in order--kids are on vacation next week, too! ;)

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  8. Dear Jayne,
    thank you for this post! The Poetry Foundation is great. And you: have a fine break to get you mojo back! Think of Gladys Taber (1899-1980) who said: "April is Hope."

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    1. Oh, Britta, thanks for that! April is hope. It really is. I think I'll savor April for as long as possible. Maybe for even longer than 30 days. ;)

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  9. Fantastic stuff J and Co.! That writerly apple falls not far from the tree...looks like you may have a dynasty in the making...
    Cheerio for now though...enjoy the month of April and remember Rilke for poetry month! ;)

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    1. Dan- I've been reading Rilke. when I return to writing (well, aren't we always writing in one way or another?) I'll have only eleven days of National Poetry Month to quote poets. Do you know how hard it is to pick just one Rilke poem? I'll do my best. :)

      Dynasty. Ha! ;)

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  10. I like the prepositional poem and especially the piece right after it! They flow nicely. Writing poetry is a lot of fun, and can be very inspirational.

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    1. Poetry doesn't flow easily from my pen (or fingertips), but it can be fun, true. Certainly, my daughter is having a grand time with it! I think, in all of her 12 little years, she's written many more poems than I. She inspires me! ;)

      Thanks for stopping by crazy lady. :)

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  11. poetry = <3
    What a wonderful, heart-felt post :)

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    1. I like your equation, Elizabeth. Nice to hear from you! :)

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  12. Hi, Jayne: I'm traveling again on the road and checked in on your blog. This is a natural, heartfelt post expressed with Hope--a quality I always seem to find in your rich writing. I was also spurred to go back to your post on Sheila and having lost friends myself, I understood your feelings. Given some time and patience the energy required to write will find you. (((HUGS))) for the weekend!

    Michael

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    1. Thanks for those comforting words (and hugs), Michael. I'm slowly returning to my craft... and reading! Yikes, I've a lot to catch up on. :)

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  13. From this alone,I'd say your mojo is quite intact: "Daisies at my feet; primrose sweet. Loons and kabooms. Whatever April brings, I shall awaken to receive it. Stay open to it. Even a silly poem. Even rain. Even hope." A lovely summing up, a poem of its own. As for being present, I would say you're being present where it's needed most, and that is in remembrance of your so recently lost friend. (But I know what you mean.) Thank you for coming by my way and tipping me off to the Pina Bausch. I have done a little explore of it on Youtube. She is a true original. Sorta like you are.

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    1. Susan, so sage- Today I sifted through many old and not so old pictures of Sheila, and I laughed out loud at the sight of several. Sent a couple to her sister. Felt good. And wrote again, too. Also felt good. Making my way back from a place of which I could not avoid being present (and believe me, I've tried before in times like this)--and it was good, too, to stay with it. :)

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  14. Your poem brought back memories of how we learnt prepositions and the cases tat belonged to them in German class:

    Durch fur gegen ohne um
    An auf hinter uber unter vor zwishen
    Aus bei mit nach von zu

    Bad poetry. It's crazy that I still remember it.

    Your poem was much better >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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    1. Ha! Ok, so I only know how to say one thing in German I zipped over to Google Translate and found this translation of the poem:

      Thanks for cause without at
      On from behind at about zwishen
      For in accordance with of to

      I don't understand but I get the idea! The fact that you still remember proves the teaching method worked pretty well. (I don't remember very much from my English classes--except for my father's, where I was not permitted to forget.) ;)

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  15. For mojo seeking there'a also the prompts for poetry here: http://www.napowrimo.net/

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    1. Thanks for that, Pearl. And hello! :)
      I'll check out the prompts...

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  16. I'm so impressed with Lulu's poetry! Especially the last one. Funny, my post today was also about seeking the poetry mojo.

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    1. Colleen- I've been away--just catching up now. I'll have to stop by to check out what's going on with your mojo. ;)

      (Lulu's blushing.)

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  17. Such a talented lot you are. :) Stopping by to say hello!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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    1. Hey Jules- Your'e back! I hope you're well. Will pay you a visit soon... ;)

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  18. I adore the Hope poem: "Before the beginning, after the start." It has great rhythm and meaning. It strikes the heart. Bravo!

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    1. Well, I am the girl's mother, QS, but I still must agree with you. She's pretty good at rhythm and meaning. Oh yes, she knows how to say what she means, mean what she says, and does it all with a shake and a wink. I think, though, she may have found something that will interest her for some time. She's taken to her own little blog, and is furiously journaling and poeming. (Is that a word?) ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. Jayne, dear, I agree with Susan, your mojo is back, I would venture to say has never left you. There is mojo in your grieving for your beloved Sheila, it simply is stunned on a deep level, but on the level of speech, you are writing as beautifully and openly and generously as ever. I don't know how I missed this post, but am so glad to have found it--it's lovely, Jayne, and yours is a wonderful blog. xo

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    1. Melissa- Mojo in my grieving--you don't now how much this would make Sheila smile. And I do know what you mean. Thank you for your kind thoughts, sweet Melissa, you made me cry--in a good way, just the right amount of pooling in the corners, swept away with the knuckle and much appreciated. :)

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