Tomorrow begins National Poetry Month. Every year I quote the line from T. S. Eliot: "April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire." I've been thinking about that line, and its focus on the past (memory) and the future (desire). I've also been thinking about the hundreds of poems I have posted on this blog in the nearly eleven years (my blog birthday is this month!) that I've been writing here.
Many of the Poetry Friday bloggers are full of fabulous project ideas for this month. Amy's writing about colors. Heidi's on a math kick. And, of course, Irene's organized the Progressive Poem. (And there are so many other creative projects planned! Here's Jama's list.) I know myself better than to commit to writing a poem every day in April, because April in middle school is, indeed, the cruelest month. Who knows what could happen? But I do want to do a daily post this month. (I'll be linking you to each new line in the Progressive Poem, at the very least.)
So here's what I came up with: six days a week in April, I'll write a post linking up to a wonderful poem or two from my archives. And on Fridays, I'll post something new. I'll attempt to make it something newly written (by me), but some weeks it may just be something newly discovered. In other words, Saturday through Thursday will be about memory, and Fridays will be about desire. Or something like that.
So for today, I will link to the poems that got me thinking about this idea. I was browsing past posts, and in June 2012 I had written about my husband reading "Tintern Abbey" while we were on vacation at our friend's cabin in the woods. I wrote: "As we sat on the porch of the cabin, looking out over the woods, my
husband said, 'This reminds me of Tintern Abbey.' He read the poem
aloud to us. From now on whenever I hear or read it, I'll think of our
friend P. killing bugs in a kind of rhythmic counterpoint."
I love that idea, expressed in Wordsworth's lines below, that our moments are precious not only for the delight they bring us while they're happening, but also for the memories we have to ponder later.
And now, with gleams of half-extinguish'd thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years.
Here's that post.
And in December 2009, I wrote another Tintern Abbey related post, this time referring to Billy Collins' poem "Lines Composed Over Three Thousand Miles from Tintern Abbey." This one skewers the idea of nostalgia, beginning:
I was here before, a long time ago,
and now I am here again
is an observation that occurs in poetry
as frequently as rain occurs in life.
Here's that post.
In this article, Garrison Keillor tells us that April isn't the cruelest month - March is. (And it's almost over!) He also suggests that you shouldn't read poetry, necessarily, but you should definitely write a poem to someone you love, and he gives some tips for doing so.
Here's to a fabulous National Poetry Month! And Amy has today's roundup at The Poem Farm.
3 hours ago