In this part of the world, one need not wait long for a wet evening in April to come calling. And so, tonight, the following poem by Patrick Kavanagh comes to mind.
Wet Evening in April
The birds sang in the wet trees
And as I listened to them it was a hundred years from now
And I was dead and someone else was listening to them.
But I was glad I had recorded for him the melancholy.
Patrick Kavanagh, Collected Poems (Allen Lane/Penguin 2004).
Patrick Kavanagh was more than a little preoccupied with the role of The Poet in society -- perhaps too much so. He wasted a great deal of energy in literary quarreling and in producing satirical verse about the Irish literary and political world. However, I think that "Wet Evening in April" is a lovely evocation of what a poet is capable of doing at his or her best. After all, here we are -- not yet a hundred, but sixty years later -- reading about Patrick Kavanagh's birds singing in the wet April trees. (And thank you, Mr. Kavanagh, for recording the melancholy.)
A serendipitous side-note: I am writing this post on April 19, 2012. In preparing to write the previous paragraph, I thought that I should find out exactly how long it has been since Kavanagh wrote "Wet Evening in April." I checked the Notes to his Collected Poems (edited by Antoinette Quinn) and this is what I found: the poem was first published on April 19, 1952, in Kavanagh's Weekly. Thus, a tiny, but nice, coincidence: the poem was published exactly 60 years ago today.