Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Opening of Life in April

Opening of Life in April

April comes from a Latin word meaning Opening, and has been used in a number of poems to refer to the generating power of life in spring.

Chaucer begins the Canterbury Tales with a reference the generating power of life in April:

Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour

In a riff on this concept, Eliot begins the Waste Land with a reference to the generating power of life in April:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

In honor of both these poets and their poems, I wrote a scene in my epic poem about the life of Lucretius, the Roman poet-philosopher, in which he overhears a group of girls who are picking flowers in spring. Here are four lines out of 42 lines expressed by a young priestess named Turan:

When April showers soak soil with sparkling rain
that bathes roots of trees with humorous moisture
and water drops engender flowers to sprout
April is most vital month that sparks life

The tale of Lucretius will be in volume 7 of Hermead, the epic poem about philosophers and scientists.

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