Monday, April 2, 2012

April: "Exactly"

April feels like the beginning of a monumental undertaking.  All of this will culminate sometime in the middle of August, when the yellow light goes aslant and the daytime shadows sharpen.  But enough of that for now. There will be plenty of time to mull that over.  In the meantime, April is most certainly not "the cruellest month."

                             Adrian Paul Allinson, "The Cornish April"

                                 April 1885

Wanton with long delay the gay spring leaping cometh;
The blackthorn starreth now his bough on the eve of May:
All day in the sweet box-tree the bee for pleasure hummeth:
The cuckoo sends afloat his note on the air all day.

Now dewy nights again and rain in gentle shower
At root of tree and flower have quenched the winter's drouth:
On high the hot sun smiles, and banks of cloud uptower
In bulging heads that crowd for miles the dazzling south.

Robert Bridges, The Shorter Poems (1891).

         Eileen Aldridge, "The Downs near Brighton, East Sussex" (1962)


Exactly:  where the winter was
The spring has come:  I see her now
In the fields, and as she goes
The flowers spring, nobody knows how.

C. H. Sisson, What and Who (1994).

                  James McIntosh Patrick, "Springtime in Eskdale" (1935)


Leo Berman said...

A little late for being timely to the date of your "April: Exactly""post, yet I would commend my favorite tribute to the "breakout" of an April Spring in this Richard Wilbur poem:

APRIL 5, 1974

The air was soft, the ground still cold .
In the dull pasture where I strolled
Was something I could not believe.
Dead grass appeared to slide and heave,
Though still too frozen-flat to stir,
And rocks to twitch, and all to blur.
What was this rippling of the land?
Was matter getting out of hand
And making free with natural law?
I stopped and blinked, and then I saw
A fact as eerie as a dream.
There was a subtle flood of steam
Moving upon the face of things.
It came from standing pools of springs.
And what of snow was still around;
It came of winter's giving ground
So that the freeze was coming out,
As when a set mind, blessed by doubt,
Relaxes into mother-wit.
Flowers, I said, will come of it.

Stephen Pentz said...

Mr. Berman: thank you very much for the Wilbur poem -- it is new to me. And it does complement the others very well. Thank you for taking the time to share it.

Anonymous said...

As always, a delight to return to your selected poems and paintings. For some reason, Virgil crossed my mind. A happy Virgil when he still lived in Mantua and not yet trapped in an urban and political Rome. Also, I now have the next work recommended by Arnold Bennett for my own blog: the poems of Robert Bridges.

Stephen Pentz said...

literarytaste: thank you for visiting again, and for your kind words.

And thanks also for the tie-in to Virgil. My ignorance of Virgil makes me think that I had better get around to knowing more of his work.

I'm not sure that I envy you turning to Bridges's poetry next on your literary expedition with Mr Bennett. Although I appreciate his shorter poems, I don't think that I could steel myself to work my way through The Testament of Beauty!

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Having now read many of the poems in the 1913 collected edition, I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed the task. They may not, in the end, have added much to my literary taste, but I had a welcome glimpse into that late nineteenth century world of Victorian literary Britain, a Britain that was to swept away by the First World War. It was also an object lesson in not confounding the message with the messenger. As the title to my post expresses it, a dreamer he may have been, tongue-tied he was not.

Stephen Pentz said...

literarytaste: thank you for referring me to your post on Bridges. (By the way, I agree with you that "Triolet" is one of his finest poems.) I think that your analysis of him is excellent: he was certainly a creature of his time (and of earlier bygone eras), wasn't he? But he is still worth our attention, I think.

As always, thank you for your thoughts. And continued good luck on your project. You are much more determined and steadfast than I could ever be!