of shape and lines
forms the impression
of a unified whole.
in color, texture,
size and position
highlights the plurality
of the parts.
seeming so solid,
exposes its fragility
in its bends and cracks.
I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
There is a part of me that knows that every month bears its burden of sad anniversaries. There is good and bad to be found in each month. The scientist in me wants to graph the months, and the major events I have associated with each. Major illnesses and deaths, natural disasters, terrorist attacks on the one hand. Birthdays, holidays, wedding anniversaries, exciting trips on the other. I think a clustered bar chart of some sort would work just fine. Perhaps such a graph would show that each month was more or less the same.
Yet somehow, I can’t shake the feeling that the month of April would have a great big tall bar for the bad category, compared to the sorry little representation of happy events. Much of this would be due to April of last year. I have started writing out, in a level of detail that is both agonizing and cathartic, the hell that was April of last year. (I probably don’t need to share that here. I’m sure for someone else there would be far more agony than catharsis to read such a thing.) In short, the month was marked by, in rough order of appearance: impending death, sharing news of major illness with young children, sudden plans for travel, rearranging of work schedules, single parenting, fever, cancelled plans for fun activities, long drawn-out dying, pink eye, death, sharing the news of death with young children, poison ivy, memorial service, funeral, stomach bug, cancelled plans for fun activities, marathon bombing, Officious Dental Hygienist, shootings, explosions, manhunts, and cancelled plans for fun activities. Last April was a relentless series of grieving and petty grievances. And it was supposed to be a month marked by intense productivity for my research.
I can’t help but be reminded that it was also in April, back in 2010, that my nephew’s tumor was discovered, the start of an ordeal that brought on so much stress and worry for many long months and even a few years. The start, in fact, of some of the hardest times I have had in my adult life. (That was also the same month that I had my own run-in with poison ivy, too. It sounds like a small thing, but my doctor said it was the worst case she’d ever seen. I had blisters lasting for 5 weeks.)
April has a bad reputation for me.
So this year, I found that I was bracing myself for April to be another bad month. This is why I picked this month to blog every day. Making myself do something daily that I enjoy has helped get me through the sad anniversaries. Now, there are under 2 hours left of the month, and I think we have come out mostly unscathed. I say “mostly” because the month has not been great. There were some happy things, and some fun things, but also a few bad things of varying scales. I don’t even really want to get into it now. (Really, I don’t tend to think of myself as superstitious, but I find myself not wanting to jinx things. So it would seem that I am superstitious. Also tired.)
So, I bid good-bye to the cruellest month. Next month promises to be a full, and hopefully less thorny, one.
Here are two short poems:
Hallmarks of these lines comprise
Allusion, evocation and expression
Impressions of nature and sensation
Kept short in sound, long in symbol
Using a constrained scheme
planted rows of words
reveal another pattern
sprouting in the fore
A couple of days ago, I solicited suggestions and requests for things to post to help blow me out of my blogging doldrums, and said that I would respond to them in the order received. Sally was first in line and gave a lovely list of suggestions.¹ First on her list was a request for either a haiku or an acrostic. As you may well be aware, it is often hard for me to choose one or the other when “both” seems an equally valid choice. So I decided to do one of each form, but made each one be about the other type.
Craving more? I seem to have a shocking shortage of haiku in my archives, but I was terribly tickled that Ally Bean recently composed a haiku for/about me². You should go read it.
I did once make another acrostic, which was also rather meta. I’ve played around with other poetry forms, too, usually in response to a Monday Mission³. You can find a tanka, and another tanka in the form of a tanga, as
well as a villanelle (about pants). To see other less structured instantiations of my bad poetry, check out my tag “bad poetry.” I find such exercises fun, given my general love of playing with words.
¹ Up next, I will probably hit the first item off the next commenter’s list, and then run through the commenters a second time for their next items on their lists. If you have not already done so, I’d love a comment from you on my last post to suggest another post theme. The more the merrier!
² It was as a prize for getting an answer right in one of her posts.
³ Monday Missions are a now-dormant group blogging activity that I enjoyed.