I wrote a poem 10 years ago to this day to celebrate the wedding and life of my mother and father. Yes, it was the royal wedding of William and Kate and it was also the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death. I wanted to celebrate their lives as ordinary, but extraordinary working people. It was also quite hard to have a special remembrance on that day as there was so much wedding joy and fervour. The poem came to me and is for Dverse poets too who always inspire me.
I remembered the wedding of my mother and father in 1946. With all the hope of post war and darkness turning to light. Which maybe it did for some but gradually as there were some tough years in the 50s. My parents’ desire was to be able to move forward and have a family and so they did. My mother talked about her wartime experiences but my father spoke very little. He was a quiet man. They lived with little money to spare but we happily went on holidays camping all around England, Scotland, Cornwall, Wales and finally over the channel to Germany ( West, then) and the former Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary and France. Although there may be problems there has been a lot of reconciliation and there is more hope for cooperation.
This April 2021 we welcome three babies to three special families that we know. Lets hope we will all cooperate for the world all the young ones deserve.
A friend posted about what makes you proud of your country as she did not feel proud. I responded with the way my parents helped me love my country by being connected to people, places and nature but to be also aware of the wrongs done. Love does not need pride but honesty.
April 29th 2011
On this very special wedding day of Kate and Will
Where hope and joy draw in the crowds
I cannot help but feel so strangely still
As I remember 10 years ago to this day
The day you finally had to go from me.
But on this very special day
Another wedding comes to mind
Your wedding day when you were yours
And yours was George
In love through years of fear
The darkest hours of war
Calm, confident without your parents near
You made your vows to George forever.
June 1st 1947, another frugal time,
And if the knot was not of the sacred kind
Your true love echoed through my growing years
No rows were seemingly heard,
As you and Dad in worked hard without a word.
In closeness and in love without the tears
Worked for the common good.
You met dancing at the palais.
You met again and were serenaded,
His warmth and voice,
Accordion to entertain with,
Through those long dark, blackout hours.
You waited till the war was ended.
Your hope was for a world mended.
You lived in peace for the common good
With friends and family to surround you
Cycling away for your honeymoon
To the hills and vales near Ifracombe.
You made me love the countryside.
Leading on Harley D for Sunday rides
With Stan and Muriel to Polesden Lacey
West Wittering for breakfast by the sea
Riding the bike through wind and rain
Putting up the tent with its old A frame.
Nights alone when children came
And George went off to Drury Lane
But you were never one to complain
You lived your life through love and pain
You lived your life adventurously
You walked through life most cheerfully.
I was teaching at the time and all my classes had a go at love and hope poems. We had a day off for the wedding so I felt I should write a poem too. Perhaps it helped me get back into my own creativity as the study of major poets could be overwhelming. We were studying at A level the likes of TS Eliot and Chaucer! If we look at their different poems with April as the focus we gain different perspectives for this most changeable month. It has also been a very changeable month for those suffering from the pandemic. Some countries emerging from a tough lockdown and others suddenly hit hard with more tragic deaths. It is also a very difficult month for breeding birds and other creatures. The weather can change from icy to heat and back with deadly consequences.
‘April is the cruellest month’ is the first line of T S Eliot’s The Waste Land. But it is clipped and should be*
‘April is the cruellest month for breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
And we finally come to the end of the sentence meaning with a full stop and some enigmatic use of enjambement or run on lines. T S Eliot’s poem is a powerful reflection of a society broken by war and religion. When studying this poem at a much younger age I was told it was about the feelings of alienation in modern society. A society just over 100 years ago. But TS Eliot also knew his Chaucer and the welcome refresh of April showers
‘Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote’
Droughts in March in Chaucer’s time? In the UK April has been one of the driest and I think warmest in this part of Europe. Just now we have been blessed with some rain but certainly April has been changeable as there was snow at the beginning and lots of cold frosty mornings.
If you have written any April poems do comment and give me a link or ping back and I will visit and look at the ways we have all been reflecting on April 2021. Or write one as if being caught between the softness of Chaucer’s April and the harshness of TS Eliot’s Waste Land. Change I feel is key to both and to April. Or just the mix of memory and desire.
Down by the Navasola well and blessed with water in April, ready for the dry drought months ahead.