somewhat more cruel than april

April is the cruelest month, so some poet said,

Likely vexed to the breaking point

By its coquettish nature, alternately promising and withdrawing

Sweetness of the warm sun, rustling green blankets of leaves,

The flirtatious, intoxicating perfume of the violet, the lily of the valley.

For all its coy fluttering of eyelids, April may delay but never denies,

Yielding its lover’s bounty and then some to suitors ardent and otherwise.

Its forerunner of two moons prior promises no such delights,

No flora-and-fauna maidenhood as recompense for devotion;

It is the time of purification, of the purge,

A time where light is at a premium, often coveted but rarely apprehended,

Its fleeting manifestations matters of obfuscation as opposed to illumination,

Soon to be supplanted by fierce meteorological harpies

Short on subtlety but long on effectiveness,

Carrying away those not equipped to resist its peculiar charms

(The too-early runt calf, the aged and nearly-blind collie

Trotting to an unfamiliar field or wood lot,

The newly-solo grandparent acquiescing to the song of the abyss),

The unfortunates consigned to crypts or undisturbed corner of barn or basement

For the time being, proper farewells set aside for some indeterminate time

When it is more feasible to block out the knowledge

That the springtime is promised to no man or beast,

Especially at such a time where so little seems to separate one from the other.

(This post inspired by a snippet by Boris Pasternak presented here and elegantly expanded upon here. )

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9 thoughts on “somewhat more cruel than april

  1. April IS a cruel month. I’ve read recently that studies have shown that there are more suicides in the spring than during the winter holidays, as was previously assumed. This is because lonesome people are out and talking, etc. It makes a lonesome and depressed person feel even MORE lonely, because it REMINDS them of how lonesome they are.

    I hate to say it, but I certainly know this is true from first-hand experience.

    Glen

  2. This is what I MEANT to say, W.K.; a typo changed the whole meaning of what I wrote.

    April IS a cruel month. I’ve read recently that studies have shown that there are more suicides in the spring than during the winter holidays, as was previously assumed. This is because more friends and lovers are out and talking, etc. It makes a lonesome and depressed person feel even MORE lonely, because it REMINDS them of how lonesome they are.

    I hate to say it, but I certainly know this is true from first-hand experience.

    Glen

    1. Oh, April is plenty cruel, all right–I wouldn’t argue that point at all. Funny thing– the poem referenced in the first line (Eliot’s “The Waste Land” ) touches on some the same things you are, especially the notion of being the lonely and depressed feeling more so seeing the happiness or new love of others.

  3. I’d say February was the worst month, around my part of the world anyway. But certainly The Doldrums strike at some time between Winter and Summer, wherever you live, when cold and dank days have been in charge for too long.

  4. This is serendipitous. Just this morning a friend was saying that April is her favourite month (for us it means the cool days of Autumn) and the TS Eliot line jumped into my head, and here it is again… the cruelest month.
    This is a more lyrical poem from you, yet your voice is unmistakable throughout, as is your eye for detail.

  5. For all its coy fluttering of eyelids, April may delay but never denies,

    April, up north, is often “dirty” the snow piles if not gone, are all grey and melting, everything muddy, not green yet. BUT here in the south, well, it will be a different story.

    This is, like Kerry said, a bit more lyrically poetic for you – the master storyteller in you shines in both styles.

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