April has come to mean many things to me. April is often when we head south during school vacation, taking time for this little family to regroup in a warmer and less hurried setting. Although this year Max is taking Drivers Ed courses during his week off from school. Driver's Ed for chrissakes
Two years ago this month I wrote about Mary Gaitskill in The Startling Subterrane of Demons,
eight other blog posts, including a little ditty about the la la la of anodyne
, and a family trip to Niagara Falls
(slowly we turned, step by step
Last year, in April, I wrote about losing my friend
Sheila, and a family trip to D.C
. It wasn't the best of months, yet there was still beauty, a lovely diffused April glow, in its lengthened days. This April has not offered much time to blog, try as I may. And so...
Word of the day is splenetic
. One meaning: melancholy
April is rainy. Around this time, two years ago, I told you that Max loves a rainy day
. But that the rains tend to hurl melancholy straight to my mind's warped door. The magnolia has not yet come around. (True. I just looked.) This time last year, I told you April hath thirty days
. It hasn't changed.
(If I'm not mindful I could eat a whole 12.60 ounce bag of frozen m&ms in one sitting—in which case, I might become splenetic
. In a different way.)
April is National Poetry Month
(This could be The Blog of Links
This month, Lulu submitted her first poem for publication. She's been writing lots of poems. As she did last year
and the year before that and the year before...
Here's one she wrote today:
One, then two, then three
The emotions pour out of me
The page is filled with countless words
Ink the color of robin birds
It was pouring yesterday when I picked her up from lacrosse practice. Rain and lightning and high winds, barrels and cardboard and all kinds of debris flying across the roads. She tossed her equipment in the trunk, jumped in the front seat and happy sing-songed, April showers bring May flowers
(I'll let you know when the magnolia comes around.)
The picture of her that tops this post was taken in an April of more than a few years back. Maybe six or seven. Or eight. I can't remember. But it was April all those years ago, and we were in Gettysburg. Lemme tell you, if the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in D.C. doesn't get to you (I know: if you are human the VVMW got to you), Gettysburg will.
After a splenetic
meltdown in April in Gettysburg of all those years ago, we bought Lu a wood stock, steel barrel, pink Lady Kentuckian musket. Her brother had gotten a toy rifle the day before (against my wishes) and, thanks to her father, there was no saying No
to her. We walked Pickett's Charge
, where this photo was taken, and could feel the low drumming of that war. Melancholy.
There were boys on that field. Boys.
Emily Dickinson was thirty-three years old on July 3, 1863, the day Pickett and his troops charged across the open field. Though miles away in Amherst, MA, Dickinson was deeply moved by the events of the Civil War which made its way into her poetry, in poems like My Portion is Defeat—today
But it is this beautiful Dickinson poem (that has nigh a drop of rain but water, water everywhere), the unabashed wildness of nature, a long, long way from Gettysburg, war, the wildness of man, that I'll share with you today:
Poem 23: In the Garden
A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.
And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.
He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad, —
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head
Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home
Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, plashless, as they swim.
Happy April. Happy Spring. Read poetry! Write poems!