CRUEL AND TAXING APRIL(S). April perturbs and taxes the mind of Emily Dickinson and T.S. Eliot, while Thoreau doesn’t worry about how to do justice to this season; he proclaims morning as the season of the day, the time of vigorous and momentous thought. We hear some of Eleanor Farjeon’s hymn “Morning Has Broken” and Thoreau gets us going with his paean to morning. Memorable events require a morning atmosphere, to be awake is to be alive, and we must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake. And thus, we make our morning The Poetry Slow Down. We hear about Leo Lionni’s Frederick, a mouse heroic poet who saves the day for his community. Speaking of spring, Mary Oliver in “Skunk Cabbage,”  opens with “these are the woods you love,” a seeming response to Thoreau’s “I went to the woods . . . .” We hear in her “Spring” a clue to the meanings of Holy Moley! And in honor of Dr. Steven Clarke and Mr. Stanley Sheinkopf, we hear A.E. Housman’s “Loveliest of Trees.”  We hear Newton speak passionately about Agitations, the heart and blood of creatures in perpetual motion, Eliot proclaim love in midst of bombing raids, and Sufi poet Hafiz tell us we are spring itself (thank you Elaine Bolduc): “Love will surely burst you wide open/into an unfettered, booming new galaxy.” We hear a lot about The Wasteland and a little about how the five words, April is the cruelest month, shaped my life. Poetry saves and makes the day. Thank you for joining me in our atmosphere of morning!

Looking Ahead:

April 14 is Pocket Poem day (go to, and next week’s show features Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning adventures in poetry and gardening, Pocket Poems for the DMV and other places you find yourself in line, a new poem by Charles Tripi that involves and invokes Gerard Stern, Li-Young Lee, Poetry Festivals, and a poem aired on last week’s show (“Fat Lady Flying”). To say Stern or Li-Young Lee is to see blossoms and fruits in the making, grapefruits and peaches and . . . what’s growing on your tree? We’ll celebrate John Muir’s birthday, Earth Day, and on that note of doing right by the earth with the voice of the poet, Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius: do something good for the happening illimitably earth. Listen for the flute, Producer Sara Hughes’ stream through our morning atmosphere, making it a woods in which we can live “deliberately,” as Thoreau says in Walden, and do justice to April’s green frolic, carrying on. To be continued . . . .Write me, and if you live on the Central Coast, you are welcome at the Poetry Workshop, Pacific Grove Library, on Grand Openings, April 12, and my talk on poetry at California Writers’ Club, April 19. Information on upcoming events Thank you for your support of poetry in our daily civic life.

© Barbara Mossberg 2011

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