Lighten up April


April is National Poetry Month. National Poetry Month was started by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. The goal of this month is to support American poets at all stages of their careers.

According to, April was chosen as National Poetry Month because the group wanted children to be in school so they could participate as well. The group also picked April because T. S. Eliot wrote, “April is the cruelest month.”

“It is our hope that National Poetry Month lessens that effect,” says the Web site.

To honor National Poetry Month, I chose the following poem because I like that it talks about the ups and downs of love, all in one poem.

(Editor’s note: Text appears as written by the author of the poem.)

“This Was Once a Love Poem” by Jane Hirshfield This was once a love poem, before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short, before it found itself sitting, perplexed and a little embarrassed, on the fender of a parked car, while many people passed by without turning their heads. It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement. It remembers choosing these shoes, this scarf or tie. Once, it drank beer for breakfast, drifted its feetin a river side by side with the feet of another.Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,dropping its head so the fair would fall forward,so the eyes would not be seen. IT spoke with passion of history, of art. It was lovely then, this poem. Under its chin, no fold of skin softened. Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat. What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall. An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks. The longing has not diminished. Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus. Yes, it decides: Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots. When it finds itself disquietedby the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,it will touch them-one, then another-with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.