Yesterday, March 31, found me sharing a conversation about a significant novel that begins, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” That 1984 opening line gets me. It plays some sort of a cruel, totalitarian “April Fools!” joke.
Think about it for a moment, and you might conclude, along with me, that we are fools — all of us — for something.
As March and its attendant madness give way to April and her showers, we bring our expectations to the seasonal table. We expect the grass to green up, the crocuses and early tulips to bloom, and the ducks to nest. We look for trees to bud. We listen for the crack of a baseball bat. We endure the pollen. Bemoan the awakening of the insect world. We celebrate Easter, discover invitations to June weddings in our mailboxes, and worry that last summer’s shorts might not cover this year’s spread. And we rejoice in the renewing. We kick off our shoes and let the grass tickle our toes. We throw up the windows and bask in the fresh air. We plan a garden, plant a tree; we let the children play, just a bit longer, outside. We hail our neighbors, last seen at Christmastime. We smile at robins. Fools. All of us.
The changing seasons… a glorious chapter, common to us all.
But Spring isn’t the only common change. And April doesn’t only bring showers. My friends, April is also National Poetry Month. (I love that I know this…)
April. Spring. Growing things. Warmth. Rebirth. Seasons’ change. Poetry.
Because good poetry, like good grammar, is always in season. Poetry spurs growth. Poetry can warm the heart, reveal the world, call us home. Poetry might obscure the obvious. It might clarify the obscure. It sometimes tells a story, and always means something. Poetry meets us where we are, invites us in, and offers us a slice of the world.
April is National Poetry Month. And since I’m a bit of a fool for poetry (and pups, and ducks, and the moon), I’m going to devote commonchapters to some of my favorite poetry. Because poetry, though it isn’t marked by chapters, can be collected. And what better way to celebrate the month than by sharing it here, in a common space?
Just last week, I discovered a poet I hadn’t had the pleasure of encountering before. His name? Neil Carpathios. His work can be found in three full-length collections. One of them, Beyond the Bones, features a poem called “Weighing.” It’s a lovely, poignant glimpse at the patterns of our days. Enjoy it here. Oh! And add it to your collection…
I wonder how much the mirror
with nothing in it.
I step away,
touch glass with fingertips.
Every day I do this,
looking at the face
with countless joys and griefs.
One day I will shave and do
the ritual not knowing
it is the last time.
Every morning I am rehearsing
saying goodbye to myself.
A month full of poetry in April. No foolin’.