April—the fourth month of 2017 is finally here.
In the Northern Hemisphere we are well into Spring. The Winter snows and storms are behind us.
Our planet traversing the cosmos is returning to its verdant foliage and its chromatic hues and tints. The songsters, especially robins, are dotting the landscapes and filling the air as they gather building materials for their nests.
Of course, on the ground a curious cat or two eye the procession. They welcome Spring as well as the tall grass which provides an excellent place for the hunt.
For most colleges and universities on the semester system weary students and exhausted professors count down to the end of the term and that glorious day affectionately known as graduation. Truly, it is a great time to enjoy Spring.
In searching the vast archives for a poem for April, I came across James Schell Hearst who is lovingly known as the “Farmer-Poet”. His poems about farm life in Iowa touch a melody of nostalgia of how life was when simplicity and hard work from dawn to sunset was the standard for rural America.
Here’s his poem on what he saw on that April day so many decades ago in his beloved Iowa, the Hawkeye State:
This I saw on an April day:
Warm rain spilt from a sun-lined cloud,
A sky-flung wave of gold at evening,
And a cock pheasant treading a dusty path
Shy and proud.
And this I found in an April field:
A new white calf in the sun at noon,
A flash of blue in a cool moss bank,
And tips of tulips promising flowers
To a blue-winged loon.
And this I tried to understand
As I scrubbed the rust from my brightening plow:
The movement of seed in furrowed earth,
And a blackbird whistling sweet and clear
From a green-sprayed bough.
You do not need to be a poet to write your poetry. Live life and thrive in the springtide of the season.
May your days of Spring be long and prosperous on your journey to that vast ocean over the cosmic horizon. May April showers bring you a myriad of May flowers.
G. D. Williams © 2017
James Schell Hearst August 8, 1900 – July 27, 1983 farmer-poet
“The farmer-poet wrote more than 600 poems during his life. His poems present a realistic picture of life on an Iowa farm. He wrote 12 books of poetry, several books of prose, and an autobiography. His work appeared in hundreds of periodicals, including the New York Times, Saturday Evening Post, and Ladies’ Home Journal. Robert Frost encouraged Hearst to write and offered to take one of his manuscripts to his publisher in New York. Hearst, however, did not accept the offer because he wanted his poetry to be published in the Midwest.”
“James Schell Hearst was born in Black Hawk County near Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1900. Hearst cultivated his interest in writing early in life, in eighth grade rewriting prose stories into verse. At the age of nineteen, Hearst became a paraplegic after a diving accident in the Cedar River. For much of his life Hearst, along with his brother, Charles, was an active farmer on the Hearst family farm, Maplehearst, near Cedar Falls. Hearst wanted to use his writing to tell the truth about farming and about life as it is lived on a farm, (The North American Review, Fall 1974). He began his professional writing career in his twenties writing articles on farm matters. In 1941 Hearst was invited to teach creative writing at the Iowa State Teachers College (the University of Northern Iowa) by Dr. H. W. Reninger, Head of the English Department. Upon his retirement Hearst was a Distinguished Professor of English and in 1975 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from UNI. Hearst was also a poet-in-residence for many summers at Aspen, Colorado.”
April Showers Bring May Flowers
“April showers bring May flowers.” We’ve all heard this rhyme at some point, usually having been taught it at an early age by our parents or teachers. It’s a popular thing to say and hear around the springtime, but one thing you might not know is where the rhyme originated from. It can be traced back to the mid-1500s, although earlier use of “April showers bring May flowers” may have existed.
“In 1557 a gentleman by the name of Thomas Tusser compiled a collection of writings he called A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry. In the April Husbandry section he wrote:
“Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers”