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This year, till late in April, the snow fell thick and light:

Thy truce-flag, friendly Nature, in clinging drifts of white,

Hung over field and city: now everywhere is seen,

In place of that white quietness, a sudden glow of green.

 

The verdure climbs the Common, beneath the leafless trees,

To where the glorious Stars and Stripes are floating on the breeze.

There, suddenly as Spring awoke from Winter’s snow-draped gloom,

The Passion-Flower of Seventy-six is bursting into bloom.

 

Dear is the time of roses, when earth to joy is wed,

And garden-plot and meadow wear one generous flush of red;

But now in dearer beauty, to her ancient colors true,

Blooms the old town of Boston in red and white and blue.

 

~ From “The Nineteenth of April” by Lucy Larcom (Words for the Hour, 2005)

 

“Boston Common at Twilight” by Childe Hassam, 1885

Solitude

Blest, who can unconcernedly find

Hours, days, and years slide soft away,

In health of body, peace of mind,

Quiet by day,

 

Sound sleep by night; study and ease,

Together mixed; sweet recreation;

And innocence, which most does please,

With meditation.

 

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;

Thus unlamented let me die;

Steal from the world, and not a stone

Tell where I lie.

 

~ Excerpt from “Ode on Solitude” by Alexander Pope

 

“Sweet Solitude” by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1919

The Spring

Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost

Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost

Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream

Upon the silver lake or crystal stream;

But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,

And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth

To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree

The drowsy cuckoo, and the humble-bee.

Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring

In triumph to the world the youthful Spring.

The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array

Welcome the coming of the long’d-for May.

Now all things smile, only my love doth lour;

Nor hath the scalding noonday sun the power

To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold

Her heart congeal’d, and makes her pity cold.

The ox, which lately did for shelter fly

Into the stall, doth now securely lie

In open fields; and love no more is made

By the fireside, but in the cooler shade

Amyntas now doth with his Chloris sleep

Under a sycamore, and all things keep

Time with the season; only she doth carry

June in her eyes, in her heart January.

 

                      ~ Thomas Carew

 

Chloris from Boticelli’s Primavera

April is National Poetry Writing Month, also known as NaPoWriMo, an annual creative writing event that challenges participants to write a new poem each day from April 1 through April 30.  NaPoWriMo coincides with National Poetry Month, which is celebrated annually around the world.

The project was founded by Maureen Thorson in 2003 and modeled after NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, which challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November.  Since its inception, the number of registered participants has grown steadily every year, and many writers’ organizations coordinate NaPoWriMo activities.

For a comprehensive list of FAQs, guidelines, and daily prompts, visit the website at http://www.napowrimo.net.

Have fun, and good luck!

 

I don’t want to die because I keep on thinking of the future. I’m desperately curious to know what life will bring to me. What will happen to me, how I’ll develop, what I’ll be in five years’ time, in ten, in thirty. The man I will marry and the places I will live in and get to know. Children. It isn’t just a selfish curiosity. This is the worst possible time in history to die. Space-travel, science, the whole world waking up and stretching itself. A new age is beginning. I know it’s dangerous. But it’s wonderful to be alive in it.

 

~ From The Collector by John Fowles, born on this day in 1926

 

Blue Morpho Butterfly by Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904)

Dreamwood

In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand

there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see

or the child’s older self, a poet,

a woman dreaming when she should be typing

the last report of the day.  If this were a map,

she thinks, a map laid down to memorize

because she might be walking it, it shows

ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert

here and there a sign of aquifers

and one possible watering-hole.  If this were a map

it would be the map of the last age of her life,

not a map of choices but a map of variations

on the one great choice.  It would be the map by which

she could see the end of touristic choices,

of distances blued and purpled by romance,

by which she would recognize that poetry

isn’t revolution but a way of knowing

why it must come.  If this cheap, mass-produced

wooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,

mass-produced yet durable, being here now,

is what it is yet a dream-map

so obdurate, so plain,

she thinks, the material and the dream can join

and that is the poem and that is the late report.

 

                                                      ~ Adrienne Rich, died on this day in 2012

 

Beatrice Ethel Lithiby (1889-1966)

Dawn Chorus

Every morning since the time changed

I have woken to the dawn chorus

And even before it sounded, I dreamed of it

Loud, unbelievably loud, shameless, raucous

 

And once I rose and twitched the curtains apart

Expecting the birds to be pressing in fright

Against the pane like passengers

But the garden was empty and it was night

 

Not a slither of light at the horizon

Still the birds were bawling through the mists

Terrible, invisible

A million small evangelists

 

How they sing: as if each had pecked up a smoldering coal

Their throats singed and swollen with song

In dissonance as befits the dark world

Where only travelers and the sleepless belong

 

                                                         ~ Sasha Dugdale

 

Marcel Rieder (1862-1942)

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