Tag Archives: cruellest month

April is the Cruellest Month

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In high school I could diagram sentences, spell well, write fine, if not eloquently,  and liked Shakespeare’s works – at least somewhat.  So it seemed that majoring in English at CC was a gimme – especially since there was no Applied Life Management major offered.

But then I took “Twentieth Century Lit” my sophomore year of college.  And we had to read Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Wilbur and Ezra Pound and Archibald MacLeish and Louis MacNeice and Dylan Thomas  and T.S. Eliot….and more.  Even looking at these poets’ works now, 55 years later, my eyes glaze over and my brain goes foggy.

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The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot – from Modern American & Modern British Poetry, Copyright 1955

Glancing (blurry-eyed) over pages of these poems,  I find it fascinating that out of the 64 poets whose works were included in our book, only 10 were women – and my class was asked to read only 2 of them

Plus, I must note that those early 20th century male poets seemed primarily interested in women and death.  But spring – and April –  get a fair amount of notice.

Gerard Manley Hopkins: “That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the Comfort of the Resurrection”-  whew – which continues

Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows flaunt forth, then chevy on the air-built thoroughfare: heaven roysterers, in gay-gangs they throng; they glitter in marches.

Robinson Jeffers poem “Shine, Perishing Republic” (note: I’m not making a political statement; I’m just stating the title that Jeffers gave it.

I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence. and home to the mother.

Dylan Thomas
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees

Is my destroyer.

I mostly liked e.e. cummings.  Here is his wonderfully timely and slightly-salacious, alternative vision of this season:

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And now back to April and cruelty.  In Andy’s Corner Andy doesn’t find April cruel at all.  But spring is a rough time of the year for gardeners and for cooks.  Winter crops are getting tired and spring/summer crops are mostly yet to come.  I’m busy perusing seed catalogs online.  Since all of our gardening is done in galvanized water troughs, I’ve been searching for summer squash seeds that are bush-like and work in containers.  So far I’ve ordered Bush Yellow Scallop, Astia zucchini, apparently a well-bred French variety (and being “well bred” is SO important), and Cube of Butter (yum! a natural for me).

In my walk through our garden area just now, about the only green growing use-able thing I saw was mint.

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So with dreams of summer and hot days and warm nights and an abundance of summer squash, I’ve paired my home-grown mint with squash in three do-it-right-now recipes.  After all, squash in the stores seems to be decent pretty much all of the time, if you pick and choose carefully.  Look for little shiny ones.

Somewhat related – and a fascinating read – is this recent NYTimes article which we just put in Food for Thought.  It’s shocking how much of our produce is imported.

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