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 (edited by Antoinette Quinn) (Penguin 2004).
Most Aprils when I return to "Wet Evening in April" the weather in this part of the world is in harmony with the setting and the mood of the poem. Thus, on more than one occasion I have read the poem on a rainy evening as birds converse in the trees before they settle down for the night. But this April has been gratuitously brilliant, and on my walk this afternoon I passed through a "bee-loud glade," and the trees in all directions whispered: "Begin afresh, afresh, afresh." I'm afraid I cannot muster any melancholy. Yet the poem is as beautiful as ever. We never know who we will be, or where we will find ourselves, when we revisit a poem, do we?
Robert Fowler (1853-1926), "Knaresborough"
The Events come and go, and take us or leave us. But Patrick Kavanagh and Marcus Aurelius intimate that there is more to each of us than meets the eye. The Events are not us. Philippe Jaccottet brings this to our attention as well: "The imperceptible movement of an invisible soul and the enormous sun." Philippe Jaccottet, notebook entry (October, 1967), in Seedtime: Notebooks, 1954-79 (translated by Tess Lewis) (Seagull Books 2013), page 159. And this:
"Attachment to the self renders life more opaque. One moment of complete forgetting and all the screens, one behind the other, become transparent so that you can perceive clarity to its very depths, as far as the eye can see; and at the same time everything becomes weightless. Thus does the soul truly become a bird."
Philippe Jaccottet, notebook entry (May, 1954), Ibid, page 1.
In each moment, the Events are absent, meaningless. There is more afoot in the World.
The spring rain:
Between the trees is seen
A path to the sea.
Otsuji (1881-1920) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 2: Spring (Hokuseido Press 1950), page 104.
William Mouncey (1852-1901), "Kirkcudbright Harbour"