Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April ~ The Cruelest Month?


To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

May 2010


I've long since quit trying to analyze poetry for a paper that must be written for a college course.  Now, I try to enjoy poetry for its own sake without digging too deeply.  Yet, I must ponder why this poem speaks to me as it does.  Is it the whole of the poem, or just parts that reach the deepest parts of the sadness I have experienced this month?

I think the beginning two lines speak the loudest to me.  Spring with its evidence of new life, re-birth, the cyclic nature of life has always been comforting to me.  The first sight of my beloved favorite flower, the daffodil, has always filled me with joy.  

Did I lose my innocence about life last spring?  Do those happy, sunny jonquils now mock me rather than lift my spirits?  Or, must I dig deeper in my soul to find comfort that no longer finds joy just by seeing the early blooming of those bulbs planted with such hope last fall?  

The poet is right.  Beauty is not enough.  April, for what purpose have you returned again?  

Julie In Ireland
Your coming has brought new grief to a heart that was healing.  It reminds me of how much I have lost.  It reminds me of that sunny little girl who was born on a beautiful day in April.  It reminds me that the last time I saw her was as year ago in April.  I associate her with daffodils.  They were blooming when she was born.  I had them carved into her headstone.  

Life brings its disappointments, its failures.  Life brings grief, and for some, it brings unspeakable heartbreak.  

The poet makes a statement, and then she asks a question:

It is apparent that there is no death.
What does that signify?

For me, the answer is: in this life, beauty is not enough.  Faith is.  


Trinette McCrary said... sorry for your pain!

dkzody said...

We have a dear friend who lives in The Hague and has posted the most fabulous photos of tulips. I told her that her pictures are saving me the cost of an airline ticket to Amsterdam.

Linda Reeder said...

You and poet Edna have reasons to see cruelty in April. It is not so for those of us for whom the month brings only good memories and happy celebrations.
Life is something! The living must embrace it. You will too, once again, when this wave of sorrow passes.

KathyA said...

This reminds me of two poems: Donne's "Death Be Not Proud" and Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death". No, beauty is simply not enough, is it?

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi There, Yes---Grief is REAL --and it takes over our lives for awhile. For you, Spring denotes death instead of new life... In time, you will look at the new growth of Spring --and think of Julie as being part of that new growth instead of being gone from you.

We humans are selfish (understandably)--and we miss those gone from us... However, with faith, we know that THEY (Julie) is much better off in that world beyond--than we are here on this earth.

IF Julie could talk to you, she would tell you that she is FINE --and she wants you to be fine also, and be able --in time--to celebrate her life.

Much Love and Prayers,

Linda Myers said...

April. It ought to be spring.

Joanne said...

I love the last line of your post. Many people would have given up on Faith altogether. I am glad to see that FAith is in full bloom in your heart. Blessings, Joaanne

DJan said...

You are processing the grief of a mother's loss, Sally. It will get better, but what you are going through cannot be truncated. That pain of seeing new growth and rebirth... I know what you are talking about.

I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you when I read this.

Lynilu said...

In our world of intense focus on beauty, so many don't look beyond it. That shallow focus leaves such a void. I hope one day you are able to enjoy the daffodils and April.

Retired English Teacher said...

Thank you for your kind words dear blogging friends. The intensity of the beauty of April's first blooms is clouded this year by grief. I am comforted by the hope that faith causes to bloom in my heart.

Grandmother said...

Oh Sally, The anniversary of the loss of your daughter brings fresh grief. It's fine for poets and theologians to say that there is no death and for us to have faith that it's true, but your arms are empty of your girl and your heart aches as a result. So "It's not enough that April comes like an idiot babbling and strewing flowers." All I can say is that you are not alone and that hearts heal and that memories are sweet.

Kay said...

I'm so sorry, Sally. Please know that we're all standing there with you and holding you in our hearts. I hope that spring's beauty can also gradually be a healing for you.

Arkansas Patti said...

I am so sorry that this time of rebirth brings you such sad memories. It must be hard to take to see others so jubilant about Spring. I hope this painful anniversary that has caused a hiatus in your healing is short lived and will once again resume.
You are in our thoughts.

Barb said...

April will always remind you of both birth and death, Sally. Your loss in the spring of new life is unimaginable and must be hard to bear. I hope your Faith sustains you as you move forward this spring. Hugs to you.

becca said...


#1Nana said...

I never know what to say, and I can't begin to imagine your pain. I have faith that with time you will see daffodils and you will smile and remember the beauty and life of your daughter and your heart will be at peace. Yeah, you gotta have faith...

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Sally, my heart goes out to you. The anniversaries of loss are so very painful. There are times when one wonders how the daffodils dare grow, how the springtime sky can be so bright, how the world can go on to another spring, without that very special daughter. So many milestones-- Julie's birthday, your last sight of her and her death -- coming all at once. May memories of Julie and the love you shared and the little springtime miracles -- like the blossoms blooming on Julie's tree on her birthday -- as well as the support of your family and friends (including your blogger friends) help to sustain you during this difficult time.

Deb Shucka said...

Sending you love and light and prayers for peace.

Cape Cod Kitty said...

I am thinking about you, especially. These anniversaries really tug at the heart. There is no way to truly mitigate the pain. It does take on other forms as years pass, but the month is indelibly marked. May the flowers brought in April bring you comfort and lighten your soul a bit. I am certain they are a bright as the beauty in your daughter's face.
Hugs to you!