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Averyt: A Poem For April

04/11/12 5:55PM By Anne Averyt
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(Host) South Burlington poet and commentator Anne Averyt observes that there's a lot to celebrate in April. But she thinks nothing welcomes spring better than poetry.

(Averyt) April is poetry month. It is also the month to celebrate empanadas, jugglers, jelly beans and rubber erasers. Each has its own national celebration day in April. And that's just for openers. There's also National Zucchini Bread Day, Animal Cracker Day and National Garlic Day, as well as celebrations for caramel popcorn and Hug an Australian Day. A month of special interests. A month to remember what we forget to notice.

I guess in our frenetic world we sometimes need to be reminded what it is we love. I love poetry year round. I love baseball, especially in April, the month in which the hope of October springs eternal. The month in which all things baseball are possible - when 30 teams leave the gate together, a fleeting moment of equal opportunity as each eyes the prize at the finish line and the crack of the bat is a sound heard ‘round the world.

Spring, baseball and poetry share a special moment in April. All are the stuff of dreams. Each can inspire us. All three make us feel good about ourselves and the world around us. Spring opens our eyes to fuzz-tuffed tree branches; it opens our ears to the serenade of peepers and the sweet melody of songbirds at sunrise. In April we trade in our mittens for fingertips to feel again. We throw open our doors and welcome in nature. We throw off our hats and shake loose our hair. We get caught up in the madness and willingly play the April fool.

There is no end to the eloquence of poets singing the praises of spring: spring as a glorious time of rebirth, as a metaphor with endless possibilities. Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote both a Song to spring and a Carol. Conrad Aiken wrote a Nocturne of Spring Remembered and Robert Frost spoke in poetry A Prayer in Spring.

Spring begins to sing in April, so it seems the appropriate time to honor poetry, the chorus of our language. "Oh to be in England now that April's there" Robert Browning wrote a century ago. But I am happy to celebrate spring in Vermont, a time when the earth awakens to sing an aria and the fields begin to sparkle under a halo of golden sunlight.

Each of us has our own signal of spring. For Frost it was a "darting bird", while poet Katherine Mansfield knew spring was here when "... A wind dances over the fields ... little blue lakes tremble ... (and) the sun walks in the forest".

For me, the willow trees down the road speak spring first. So I add my voice to April's poetry: Weep no more my willow
dress up in lemon fringe
sway a tango step, sweep
open wide your arms and
welcome the prodigal
come back home again

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