brilliant red tree buds
bobbing in the April wind
lift my spirits up
sun through bare branches
first time on the wooded path
treetops blushing red
the earth shows me how
to open up to magic
with the new-sprung grass
A few notes about April, National Poetry Month, and related or tangential topics:
- April is the cruelest month because it is neither one thing nor another. Especially in Boston, it is neither the callused braw of midwinter, nor the soft (and — thanks to climate change — rainy) flower-fest of spring. In February we laugh at freezing weather, we don our extra layers and our vaselined lips as a matter of course. In April, lulled into a sense of false security, we open our petals into the sunny breezes, decide to take out the summer dresses and the short-sleeved shirts. And then freeze and shiver in temperatures that felt warm to us in February.
- T.S. Eliot is a fussy little busybody who thought that shirtsleeves were sordid.
- This April, I want the fields to lay fallow. I walk the wavering line between abandonment and overpruning of my poetic garden.
- The sap rises up and I write, write, write, accumulating pages and pages of white, letter-sized writing pad, the blue lines running undercurrent beneath my handwriting, sometimes scrawl and sometimes legible.
- The sap rises up and I want to run through the bogs screaming, expounding. The sap rises up and I rise with it, and then I return to the couch, or the breakfast table, looking at the birds who congregate at the feeder outside, along with the squirrels.
- How much longer can I keep both the squirrels and the woodpeckers — two downy, two red-bellied, none red-headed, in spite of the red head of the red-bellied woodpecker — in suet?
- The worst thing to do with the seedling is disturb it. Let it lay there, half in and half out of the ground. But when they start to crowd thick and green (because you never obey the seed-packet’s instructions, always spacing them too far or too close), then you must pluck and choose, which one will stay and which will go. Otherwise, they all die out, competing for the same scant patch of dirt and sun and rain.
- The squirrels and the chipmunks — and your own damn cats — will likely devour many of the flowers, even in their bloom. Look at the crocus, who finally bloomed only to become scattered-pink the next day, scattered and tragic petals among their white-and-green-striped arrow-leaves.
- Plant them anyway.
- Trust the wisdom of the numbered list.
- Stay in touch, whether casual, constant, or connubial, with those who understand the importance of a turn of phrase, the difference between Joe Green and Guiseppe Verde.
- Take it moment by moment.
- Remember to be of service — in both the meaningful work and the work that pays the bills.