Every April, the same thing happens. Fragments of poetry begin to drift through my mind, unbidden....
"April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."
From The Waste Land, so I will have to spend some time today reading T. S. Eliot. For now I admire the rhythm of those verbs at the end of each line, hanging
On to the next.
It was the hyacinths that got me started.
One of my favorite tasks, preparing
Flowers for the vases, cutting
Stems for fresh mouths, wreathing
The room in sweet odor, rinsing
Grit from the crevices, thinking
Somewhere someone still farms flowers in soil. Thankfully.
Of course, it is more muscular to be writing about death and desire.
I would always rather be chopping hyacinth stems than, say, preparing fennel for dinner.
"'You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
They called me the hyacinth girl.'"
And then, on cue, the only Middle English I remember at all, though perhaps this year I will commit more Chaucer to memory...One can lose herself in YouTube Chaucerishness.
Whan that Aprille with his shores soot
The drought of Marche hath perched to the root,
and bathed every veyne in switch licour,
Of which vertue engendered is the flour...
The showers this weekend did indeed pierce the drought of March, and trickle down to the roots of every plant, bathed every vein in liquid of such power that it has given birth to flowers.
Which, as it happens, this year decided not to wait for Mr. April.
And for those of you who don't mind being googlemired, Pasolini's 1972 take on the poem is zanily ribald; it has an Incredible String Band-ish quality...get past two minutes of credits.
Back to cleaning stems.