Nobody, not even the rain
Spring tends to drive poets into frenzies comparable only to the madcap hullabaloo achieved by kittens making their first acquaintance with catnip or by members of the cast of Up with People.
Everybody who has ever lived in the world and could string two rhymes together has written a poem on spring. It is the most be-rhymed subject in the world–and always will be, because it is poetry incarnate itself. You can never be a real poet if you haven’t made at least one poem about spring.
And we also know what a rotten idea it is.
Spring has been responsible for more [poetic] trash than anything else in the universe of God,
–also L.M. Montgomery
Nonetheless, every April off we go again, as if flowers and showers and bowers were somehow new territory. As if there were anything left to say. There’s a reason that April is National Poetry Month, my friends, and it may not be a flattering one.
I have been known to commit spring poetry myself, from time to time. I have a particularly strong and particularly horrifying memory of a spring atrocity visited by me upon the English language when I was 14 or so. It began–and let us count the mortal sins contained herein–
Oh Spring (The most overused apostrophe in English.)
I am drunk (I’d never had so much as a beer)
on the sweet champagne (and I’d certainly never tasted champagne)
that you decant. (which doesn’t get decanted, anyway.)
My god, it’s just awful. I feel like I’ve just shown my hapless blog readers a picture of myself at the height of my ugly stage. I need a drink.
And it only gets worse.
I wrote a spring poem this week. Well really, you didn’t expect me to be able to help it, did you? I’ve been warning you and warning you that it was coming.
It was well after midnight, and I was asleep with the windows open to let in the suddenly soft April air, and because April in Indiana isn’t exactly a warm and sunny and wisteria-filled wonderland, it started to pour.
The rain hit the wood floor loudly enough to wake me, and when I got up to close the window I leaned out and breathed it in…spring. No flowers yet. Barely even anything budding or turning green. And I suspect we haven’t seen our last frost yet. But still, underneath it all, I could smell spring. And I thought, “Who could possibly object to being wakened up for this?” And I thought, “It’s like when the kids climb in with me at 4 am. I ought to be annoyed, but I’m too busy smiling.”
So I wrote this, which is still very much in progress.
Surely I can be excused
for not objecting to the rain
that woke me
as it clattered on my floor.
It was so
Warm, so soft
And smelled so much
I do not mind
slip into my bed
All warm and soft
With damp kisses
And sleep-tangled hair.
And in the morning I got up, stood in a mud puddle in my platform heels and uprighted the rain barrel, which had fallen over in the storm.