Unenchanted April

unenchanted april

Poets used to love springtime. Remember Chaucer?:



Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote

The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,

And bathed every veyne in swich licour,

Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth

The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne

Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,

And smale fowles maken melodye,

That slepen al the night with open ye . . .




Or how about some Shakespeare?



It was a lover and his lass,

With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,

That o’er the green corn-field did pass,

In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,

When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;

Sweet lovers love the spring.







I myself do not much like the spring. It can be very pretty, granted, and I do think crocuses and daffodils are very nice. But there’s something a little – I don’t know – relentless about it. And I notice that, over the past hundred years, a few poets seem to be agreeing with me.

How about that ol’ T. S. Eliot?:




April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.




But my personal favorite is New England’s own Edna St. Vincent Millay:




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.




I love those last few lines.

Happy springtime, everyone!



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

6 Responses to Unenchanted April

  1. Whoa! Bah humbug! Personally, I’ve had it with the cold. My family in Oregon struts about in shorts, and even Montana was in the 60’s last week. We here in New England jump for joy at the tiniest crocuses as they push their way through ice-crusted dirt. I say–Spring? Bring it on already!”

  2. starproms says:

    Those last few lines – a lovely roundabout way of seeing this time of the year and so right. I love it when I read some lines like that and somewhere in my brain, a penny drops. Just so clever. I agree with you Loren. I’ve been watching my daffodil for ages now and it’s STILL not open. I’m getting impatient and annoyed. I’m feeling sorry for the lambs, some dead in the snow and can’t be reached and my stache of hope is being used up quickly! Come on, come on, come on Spring!!!

  3. starproms says:

    ps you must have read my mind. When I was reading your previous post about the British abroad before the wars, I thought about the film, Enchanted April. Have you seen it?

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