A Week in April

Monday Morning Musings:

A Week in April

“When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.”
–Walt Whitman, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”

“Alas, poor country,
Almost afraid to know itself. . .
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air
Are made, not marked; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy.”
–William Shakespeare, “Macbeth”

Yo-Yos and Birds

This is a yo-yo week,
temperatures and emotions
bounce up and down.
Michigan and Wisconsin rise,
Tennessee falls—and in Florida,
the swamp creatures reign.
Books are banned, and women die.
We could be wearing stars again. But–
you won’t flinch till they come for you.

The poet’s sighs, the playwright’s lines
place withering Death amongst the blooms–
they catch the light and scatter on the ground.
To every season, love reborn, and so, too, evil,
Recurrent plagues not marked. We wait for miracles.

Now the robins sing and call the sun,
we watch the eagles in their nest,
and geese that honk and hiss, paddle and fly.
The crows ground us—
pairing, gossiping, they work together
to chase the predators away. When we go low,
they go high.

Epilogue: The Three Fates Huddle in the Kitchen Beside the Dirty Holiday Dishes

And is it bad we laughed
about turning our parents’ ashes into stone—
how comforting the testimonials,
placed under pillows or on the shelf
no one would ever be alone,
we chortle, even as we think . . . well. . .maybe.

Dessert. More wine. “L’chaim.” We drink.

My husband and I marked the first night of Passover on Wednesday night with sparkling rosé at dinner, as we did a mini, condensed Seder.

Our older child was here for a few days. On Friday, our daughter came over, and they wrote the annual Passover play together. This time they decided to use Chat GPT by feeding it with characteristics of all of us involved, and which they then revised. A wonderful effort as always. Let’s just say you wouldn’t go to our family Seder if you want to experience a typical Seder. But we do have fun! Our daughter-in-line FaceTimed us for the play. We put out glasses for Elijah and Miriam, and then we decided to put one out for my mom, too, because she liked wine. (“Give me whatever is dry.”) In case you don’t know, we are supposed to drink four glasses of wine during the Seder; however, we never get through the whole Seder. We forgot to open the door for Elijah, but my sister accidentally found the Afikomen. There was also an epic game of making plague frogs hop into a water glass.

We use the matzoh covers that our kids made when they were little kids. This year, we included a tiny house that poet-artist Claudia McGill made and made a plague Passover it. I ran outside to take a photo of the beautiful sunset that night, too.

We watched the Joni Mitchell Gershwin Prize program with our older child, and it was SO good. Highly recommended—great performances and very moving, too. They also had her artwork on display.

Poetry month is a busy time. As well as writing, I’m still catching up on comments and writing.

10 thoughts on “A Week in April

  1. This line says it all: When we go low, / they go high. As a species, we seem to insist upon taking the low road. Ugh.

    Family time and nature do provide solace and spots of joy, as your post demonstrates so well.

    • Thank you so much for your close reading, Liz!
      One of the “Tennessee Three” was on the same plane as Joan Baez, and they sang “We Shall Overcome” and another song together in the airport.

  2. I’ve never experienced a Seder but, if I could, I’d choose your family-style Seder. You all seem to have so much fun 🙂
    Meanwhile, here in Florida, ack! barf! as Bill the Cat would say.
    Thank you for the visual treats and the lovely poem 🙂

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