Three Ways to Delight in the Cruellest Month

When the cruellest month consumes
the remains of Old Man Winter,
I sniff the soil for to-be blooms
and spring-dream of petrichor.

I gossip with dragon’s blood
and smirk wickedly at passion fruit,
when the cruellest month kisses earth
and snow melts under the touch.

With T. S. Eliot in my bag,
I escape to Unreal City, wishing
Stetson’s garden to sprout
in the cruellest month.

Process Note: I’ve borrowed many bits from “Unreal City”, my favorite part of “The Waste Land”, by T. S. Eliot. I’m including a link to “The Teacher”, by Hedgewitch, because I’ve thought about the poem enough times, since I read it, to wonder if I’ve pinched a feeling or three from it (shhh… don’t tell Hedge). The format loosely follows “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, by Wallace Stevens (minus ten stanzas, obviously). I swiped the idea from a prompt offered by Heaven, at The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads…

for NaPoWriMo with Magaly Guerrero 2015, Day 14 – Valued Activities in My Poetry: Write a poem that includes at least three activities you truly enjoy doing in April.

linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Three Ways to Delight in the Cruellest Month

61 thoughts on “Three Ways to Delight in the Cruellest Month

  1. This is absolutely intense!
    I actually have goosebumps after reading this 😀
    Loved the imagery.. it gives it a fiery feeling..!!
    Have a great day 😀

    • Right at the end of the winter, I start talking more to my plants… getting anxious about the arrival of spring… sharing nonsense words full yearning for warmth… it does sound a bit like gossiping. 🙂

  2. Favorite line: “I gossip with dragon’s blood,”

    Also, I have some in one of my planters in the front yard and I love how it turns red.

    • Me too! I love that the kind of droopy look that stays with the plant on non-sunny days becomes a thing for last season, at least for a bit… and then, the dragon’s blood blushes. 😀

  3. Sniffing the soil, only a gardener at heart can understand that little hitch you get in you psyche when you get that scent after a long winter! I, instinctively, trust people that say things like, “Oh, it smells like Spring,” or “It smells like Fall, today!” I wish the blogs would allow a like button on comments. You all would be “liked”.

    • There is nothing like that scent. It’s the reason why I spent a lot of time in the woods just when the snow is almost all gone… while the sun is warming mud that has been cold for months… you can almost hear that land moaning… or maybe it’s me, lol!

  4. Magaly, your characterization of The Cruelest Month is spot on. Love your dragging a volume of Eliot along for your ride! Funny, I have Joyce along this spring as I revisit “Portrait of the Artist” for the umpteenth time. Something about his being a fly on the wall with the grownups… Amy

  5. You are fun! Drunk on poetry-huh?! Wicked is what we say in Maine when something is really delicious~ Yes, this one is wicked good! You said, that are you from New England?!


    • Oh, do the story of how I picked up the word “wicked” is delicious: it a includes 90-year-old going on 21, lots of delicious poetry reading, and nurses pretending they didn’t know 95 % of the patients were smuggling chocolate. 😀 The old vet was from Boston, and he thought I was “the most wicked darling” he had ever met. Ah, you’ve made me miss my old timers…

  6. Ah, I must try that ‘x ways of looking’ idea soon; it obviously sparks good poems! (By you and others.) My April is different, being mid-autumn here, but I can appreciate the hopeful moments of advancing spring in your poem.

    • It is such fun to use. I missed the prompt, and I kept on thinking about it for days. 😀 I will send you some spring thoughts and you send me some of those lovely autumn scents… with pie in them, please. ♥

  7. Love the earthiness of this, the soil and seed of spring running under each fantasy/activity. Be careful of that dragon, it doesn’t have much blood to spare! And here’s wishes and prayers that your garden not be a wasteland.

    • My dragon’s blood palm will never be tamed, but we’ve been together for so long (I’ve been caring for it for over 10 years) that we have grown to trust each others’ beasts.

      Ha! I never thought what reading Eliot to my plants might do to the garden. I wonder if they have been growing so nicely out of pure terror!

  8. Eliot is one of my first loves in the list of poets who influenced my love of literature – more so for Preludes than Wasteland – so I understand the need to keep him close, especially in April.

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