Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues


          On its first day, April is all about fools. What is it that we so love being fools or making fools of others? Google this if you really care but it’s been practiced by virtually every nation and culture. The ancient Romans did it. And St. Pat’s day should move to April, given those pesky leprechauns that pinch folks who don’t wear green for the occasion.

The month always makes me think too of T.S. Eliot’s remark that it’s the cruelest of the twelve. I remind readers annually that for cruelty the sinking of the Titanic in April of 1912 is second to none. Ironically, insult is added to injury that over the years it’s become a punchline too—that the world’s biggest metaphor hit an iceberg, prompting passenger John Jacob Astor to cry, “I rang for ice but this is ridiculous.”

          I can’t think of a month that isn’t cruel when I look at the historical calendars of both ancient and modern worlds. Byron, one of my favorite poets, died at an early age this month in 1824. He forced my respect by the sheer bulk of his output and its insight. I like people who make me respect them. . I had no use for him till I had a lot of use for him. I was just a late bloomer.

          Of course Spring shows its first promise this month, and the resurrection of nature is arguably the most glorious natural occurrence of the entire year. St. Paul used it as a metaphor of human corporeal resurrection which, ironically, modern science asserts is an impossibility, that the atoms and molecules that comprise all things, including people, have always been around and re-arrange but do not “resurrect.” Admittedly, all religions, different as they are, comfort and inspire, world-wide, but the cosmic pageantry revealed by the James Webb telescope is as moving as scriptural assertions that it’s made by an invisible, divine hand.

          And who cannot be moved by what humanity itself creates in the musical, visual, theatrical and literary arts? Locally, we have a Literary Festival in April that brings established and emerging writers into our community and draws book lovers from near and far—an event not to be missed.

          This is also National Poetry Month where we can celebrate in verse what was or was not originally in prose. We still read and study Homer and other ancients. Greek and Roman poets have been a study of mine from early youth. Here and nearby are groups like the Powow Poets, the River Bards in Haverhill and the young versifiers at the Press Club in Portsmouth.

          To me, poetry is a sacred scripture of its own, and is as democratic as all other forms of art. Through the centuries poets have broken molds traditional to their time—as Walt Whitman tore down barriers of meter in American verse and was famously despised by Emily Dickinson for his iconoclasm but whom Emerson, though a bit of a prude himself, nonetheless applauded.

          I have no claims to make but am pleased to display poetry this month at Nu Kitchen on Pleasant Street, with a mix of rhyme, free verse and experiential forms in a variety of themes. Nu is a recently-established popular and “happening” healthy-food and coffee place that Joshua Van Dyke has brought to our community after success in Somerville and Worcester.

I hope to see friends and readers there throughout the month where will be seen poetry about Love, Nature, the pandemic, asteroids, Artificial Intelligence and even Laws of Thermodynamics.

What a concept: that where many public establishments might exhibit works of visual art, a new, iconic one like Nu will proffer poetry!


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