April is a very busy month on the national calendar. It is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, Autism Acceptance month, National Frog month, Garden Month, and many, many more.
Stress Awareness month is in April, too, but I feel most of us are plenty aware of stress already.
The month has celebratory weeks as well as months. Like National Parks, Earth, and Young Adult Cancer Awareness weeks. And oh, the days! Library Day, World Health Day, and believe it or not there is a special April day reserved for each of the following: rats, Siamese cats, beavers, pygmy hippos, hamsters, dolphins, elephants, bats, curlew, penguins, tapirs and guide dogs to name a few.
So you have plenty to think about in April other than spring cleaning or surfacing the driveway.
Personally, I think April’s finest flower is National Poetry Month. There is a guess that April was Shakespeare’s birthday month. I doubt it. If nobody is sure what all he actually wrote, I doubt they are sure when he appeared on the scene. But I digress.
I can hear some of you saying, “Poetry? Here on the opinion page? I’ll give you an opinion.”
For the rest of you, know that poetry is alive and well in your own neighborhood. The Olympic Peninsula speaks to writers, so writers speak of it. Poetry is our most personal way to communicate deepest joys and fears to each other. When you read a poem that shares your feelings, you know you are not alone.
March may be known for madness … but April is known for poetry that clears the mind, offers wisdom, and shares our humanity. Give another read to Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” or if you like a challenge, take on Eliot’s “The Waste Land” which begins “April is the Cruelest Month.”
Or, merely enjoy this sweet bit of happy from Ogden Nash:
‘Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true —
I love April, I love you.’
There are lots of poetry readings in our community, and you will be amazed by the talent of our local bards. Give one a try. Olympic Peninsula Authors is hosting one at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, at Sequim’s Blue Whole Gallery, 129 W. Washington St.
The Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St., is introducing the county’s new Poet Laureate at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18.
The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, Studio Bob, Olympic Theater Arts, and Peninsula art galleries all have poetry readings from time to time. It’s an easy way to get involved locally … even to feature your own verse.
You’ll likely discover that National Poetry Month is better than gold and easier to mine. And at least as worthy of praise as bats and rats.
Linda B. Myers is the author of ten novels, including “Starting Over Far Away,” released last fall, available at Port Book and News, Pacific Mist, and Amazon. You can reach her at email@example.com