“April is the cruellest month,
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire … “
T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”
T. S. Eliot must have been a bit dyslexic. He added an extra “L” in the word cruelest and omitted an “L” and a “T” in his last name. (My opinion, only). Still, he was an amazing poet.
Not only is this month worth writing about, but April is officially National Poetry Month. Now, there”s something to celebrate.
The idea of “poetry” can be a bit daunting. The word evokes images of stuffy people reciting their work in very pretentious tones. National Poetry Month is the perfect time to shake off our conventional perceptions that poetry is prim and decidedly square.
As a child, I loved poems that rhymed and had a defined meter. Edgar Allen Poe was a favorite. I knew “The Raven” by heart, and “Annabelle Lee.” It was fun to read aloud to my cats. I suppose they did not care much for dark and brooding images, but they were polite, listening quietly with eyes closed.
These days, my taste leans toward pieces that are less dramatic. My good friend, J.D., writes wonderful narrative poems about ordinary people and common places, with never a rhyme to be heard. They are a pleasure to read and even more entertaining when he reads them.
I am inspired by his quirky and hilarious writing. But, the idea of labeling something that I write as ””poetry” seems somehow vain. As it turns out, my children (two dogs and one cat) have begun to write poems. They prefer subjects like nature and insects.
My wild-child, Charlotte, is the most prolific. Here is one of hers:
Palmetto bugs rustle dry leaves.
Hard brown bodies skrich-scratch withered weeds.
They whisper and hiss through onion-skin wings,
“You only bark, but we can sing.”
“Big ears,” they mock me.
“Big ears,” they tease.
“We are the stallions of fairies.
On your back
There is a series of books called “Poem In Your Pocket.” They have pages designed to tear out and carry with you. This is a form of portable art, perfect for someone who wishes to unfold a bit of beautiful writing during the day, like a coffee break for the soul.
This month the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library pays tribute to poets and their work every Wednesday. Lectures, readings, and free tea will be part of the lunch-time programs, 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
April may be the “cruellest” month, but, perhaps it is also the most inspirational. There are hundreds of verses about April and odes to April. Who knows? She may motivate you to pen a verse of your own.
I am reading a lot of poetry this month. Alas, my muses are fickle. So far, I have accomplished only a tad of plagiarism. I decided to adopt the “L” and the “T” that Eliot does not use in his name and add it to mine. I wish my readers better luck with their verses.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.
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