snakes and lions

It’s April, but we don’t seem to be enjoying Chaucer’s “shoures soote” – the sweet showers that bring forth spring flowers. Yes, the parks and gardens are bright with blossoms and blooms aplenty, but the weather is as changeable as it has ever been.

I haven’t actually seen snow here this month, but there’s been hail and temperatures below zero, as well as heavy rain, brilliant sunshine, strong winds and days of constant grey sky and mizzle.
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haiku for fools

Although I can’t find the date on the About Times Haiku page, I can only assume April 1st is the kigo (seasonal reference) that has justified this page of “Serendipitous Poetry from The New York Times.

In addition to the 5-7-5 syllable “rule”, the NYT explain:

A proper haiku should also contain a word that indicates the season, or “kigo,” as well as a juxtaposition of verbal imagery, known as “kireji.”

They then admit:

That’s a lot harder to teach [as] an algorithm, though, so we just count syllables like most amateur haiku aficionados do.

It’s rather late in the day, so I’ll simply offer a picture of the weeds in my garden – a “juxtaposition of vernal imagery”, which is as close to a kireji as I can manage right now.

April weeds
Note that the weeds are certainly green and also rather cabbage-looking; perhaps they would have been good subjects for April Fools’ Day pranks.

weeds and words

dandelion flower and clock

April has brought the cuckoo and forced the lilacs into bloom. Now it’s even bringing a few showers. They don’t seem to be doing much to pierce the drought of March, though, as they barely dampen the surface of the ground and then evaporate with wind and the suddenly dazzle of sunshine.

Still, they are enough to have prompted a few more weeds to flourish and the photo has reminded me of an unfinished poem of frustrated love entitled I want. This is the third stanza:

I want daisies on the lawn in clumps
of seven to fit my footstep, a universe
of dandelion globes and the chance
a simple breath can make it
any time I like.

Down by the river the other day, it would have been easy enough to put your foot on seven daisies, but I haven’t seen any in my garden and I’m sure summer isn’t really here yet. Perhaps the river bank is as inaccurate a time keeper as dandelion clocks tend to be.

half found

pale lilac coming into flower

First of all a picture of a spray of lilac. Because it’s April and it’s about time there were lilacs.

And now some talk of poetry. Because it’s April and even if I’m not managing a poem a day, I am trying to focus a bit more than I sometimes do.

I posted a ‘found poem’ in Spanish a few days ago (yesterday’s poem) along with an unsatisfactory translation into English. In fact the bus station notice about ‘security recommendations’ that the text was taken from used to be much longer and much more detailed. It had caught my attention in the past and I found an old copy of the complete version in my notebook.

This time I have taken more liberties with the ‘translation’, although none of the ideas in the poem are entirely mine: they all come from the Spanish original.
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