Geoffrey Chaucer, in the late 1300’s, wrote about April in his Canterbury Tales, praising its rains and warm winds for the restoration of life and fertility after the endless winter—
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote/ The droghte of March hath perced to the roote…
But T. S. Eliot, another British poet, took quite a different view in 1922, in The Waste Land, where he savaged the month—
April is the cruellest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain…
The same month, two opposing points of view, left to the reader to determine which is the most apt.
My own outlook varies from time to time, depending, I suppose, upon my mood, the weather, and the company I keep. I have often longed for the coming of April with its showers sweet, its promise of spring, only to be disappointed by its refusal to let go of winter.
Poetry is one means I employ to give voice to my feelings, sometimes optimistic, full of hope, and other times doubtful and despairing. I find the Japanese haiku form especially appropriate—three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively—to convey my conflicted state of mind.
By way of example, here are five haiku I have written dealing with April, each with a picture in harmony with my outlook. I, too, leave it to you, the reader, to decide which of my moods is being conveyed by each—
sun plays peekaboo,
dancing ‘cross the wint’ry lake—
heralding the spring
april is cruel—
so the poet says—teasing
us falsely with spring
joining in our walk,
tentatively, yet warmly—
sweet spring has returned
april can’t fool me,
that false harbinger of spring—
may is the gateway
in the rain
dancing in the rain,
neither of us wet or cold—
warmly wrapped in love
May the spring blossom anew for you…..in April, or whenever it arrives!