Susan's Blog

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Whan That Aprill

I want to post this not because I’m a pretentious a****** (I admit, it’s a possibility), but because I truly always think about Chaucer’s Prologue to the Canterbury Tales this time of year. This is because when I was a freshman in college, I took a class where the prof made us memorize this Prologue and he exhorted us to recite it every spring! So I still do!

Professor Ogden taught us that, as strange and foreign as the Middle English appears at first, if you read it aloud and pronounce every letter in the word, you get a sense of what each word is and you can feel what each line means, even if you don’t understand it word for word. It is really pretty simple, a description of April’s showers, and how they satisfy each vine, creating a flower; and the sweet breath of the wind, the new plants, and how Aries is halfway run; and the best line: how birds sleep with open eyes this time of year because their hearts are so full.

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages…

We won’t be going on any pilgramages today; it is Benji’s party. We have rented a moonbounce and are expecting nine eight-year-olds. The large, rubbery crayon-castle right now lies in a wavy mass in the middle of our yellowish-white yard, not yet inflated to its carnival-like proportions. It was raining a little, (a shoure soote), but the sun has just come out, suffusing the bare branches with a pink light. It all still looks asleep and wintry, but because I know it is now Aprill, I can feel the life beating just below the surfaces. If you look close, you can see green buds starting to unfurl and splashes of crocus color here and there, and even a hint of new green spreading over the grass.

The photo in this post is of my backdoor garden, in June (the absolute BEST month). I created this garden several Mays ago when I lost the Town Meeting Member election. I called it my “I Hate Town Meeting” garden, and filled it with roses – tea roses that are peach, pink, white, and yellow — and rose campion. God hands you lemons, you make lemonade. God helps you lose an election, you make a garden, and count your blessings.

1 comment

Indeed it is time now for the cruelest month since sumer is icumen.

— added by kristina on Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 9:42 am