Ambiguity of Spring
TO ALL MY FELLOW BLOGGERS AND BLOGUETTES: SALUT! 14 April, A.D. 2010
My ambiguity about Spring. I have always been ambiguous about that Season, after all, the poet wrote
“April is the cruelest month”
(from the epic, "The Wasteland," TS Eliot)
Beauty of trees in bloom, ⎯the abundance of foliage after the bareness of Winter.
Yet in this same season we remember the Armenian Genocide (some 2 million souls, men, children, women, young, old, ⎯Armenian Christians⎯slaughtered during the Long March of Van , by Ottoman Turks, ⎯a crime the Turkish Nation still refused to acknowledge, ⎯even after the Germans have acknowledged their crimes in the Holocaust,, where 8 million souls, men, women, and children young and old of Jewish origin murdered en mass by German Nazis in the Concentration Camps of Europe crematoria with their black belching smoke of human ashes, between 1942 and 1945…
The Armenians constitute ¼ of my blood but for me a significant quarter, each year the date comes about, April 15th…and I think which of my relatives were amongst that anonymous mass of humanity, murdered on the side of the road on that Long March…I will never know, so I receive them all as my blood, along with my Ethiopic, Greek and Arabic/Moorish strains from the Island of our ancestors, Sicilia, in the Mediterranean.
Yes, whilst the trees were in bloom and Earth regenerated from the throes of Winter, this horrid darkness encompassed Spring, in April, 1915; and the years 1942 through 1945 in “civilized” Europe, Europe of Descartes, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Immanuel Kant, Goethe…
My other “ambiguity” about the Season of Spring concerns⎯on a lighter note⎯my allergies! With the onset of this Season begins my suffering with runny nose, teary eyes, cough, sinus-clogs, etc.⎯this since childhood and it still continues (I always look forward to Spring but then again living back East, dreaded its onset at the same time.)
“April is the cruelest month,” I have always understood that line of Eliot’s innately, the words continue to resonate with me.
Memories of Spring. Maybe occurred in my 6th year (?). My grandma, Janaïna Sparaínos, told me then a cautionary tale, as it were. It was about a young girl who lived in the next village near my Grandma’s on the Plain of Enna on the Island of our ancestors, Sicilia, in the Mediterranean. The young girl’s name was Persephonéa ⎯Persephoné. One day the girl wandered away from her home⎯contrary to her mother’s wishes⎯into a field of flowers nearby, to pick a bouquet for her mother, Demeter. Now this was the first contact with the poetry of my ancestors, ancient Greek colonists who, with African Carthaginians, were the first inhabitants of our ancient Island…Returning to the story, as my grandma told me, while the little girl was in the field picking flowers, the devil suddenly appeared out of the ground with his fiery steeds and chariot and snatched the young girl, taking her away with him into his underground kingdom, to be his bride. The devil, Hades, allowed the little girl to visit with her mother once a year only, when the flowers were in bloom and trees were in blossom.
That occasion became known as the Season of Spring, when Persephoné emerged from Hades to visit with her mother, the goddess of the Earth, Demeter. When the mother surrendered her daughter over to Hades (the devil, as the story has it) Spring was over. This poetry was passed down for the last 3, 000 years on the Island. As a teenager I researched the poetic story and traced it back to its origins, in Greek mythology.
Thus, my Grandma, was the one to first influence my budding poetic imagination⎯at the age of 6!
The Obverse) The joyousness of Spring:
My two daughters will attend the Giants' Baseball Opening Game, this Saturday, April 10th, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, which, as I write, is why I am here in San Jose at my daughters’ home, to “babysit” my grandchildren, Joseph (11) and Maya (7)…
The other joyousness that has occurred this Spring: birth of 5 kittens to my cat, Esmerleda-Kitty. (I have two cats, Gigi-Kitty and Esmerelda-Kitty.) So I spent Easter, April 4th, with 5 Easter kittens and two Easter cats. One of the kittens I have named Harriet-Kitty, in honour of my friends at the Harriet Blog / Poetry Foundation … The other kittens named: (3 boys) Arâm, Jacques, and Yusef the Screamer; (2 girl kitties): Harriet-Kitty and Alice-Kitty (after Alice, Ted’s widow, Alice Notley)... Mom-cat was exasperated with nursing so I had to feed these kitties with a baby-bottle and kitt-formula (acquired from the pet-store for a pretty penny!) Not much sleep – just like my days of being a dad when my two daughters were first born in 1967 and 1969… doing the “baby shuffle” but am grateful my mommy-kitty, Esmerelda, and her kittens are safe and well!
I end with this optimistic note, my fellow Bloggers and Bloguettes, with warm wishes for you all, may you find many creative adventures in the years to come; may you be enveloped in the mystery of Love, with some occasional glimpses of The Marvelous in your lives (Le Merveilleux).
“We are Life’s Guests” – Boris Pasternak (during an Interview, 1959)—À Bientôt!—(Fr.,) So long for now!
P.S. My 16th book: ENVOY, published by Punch Press, Richard Owens, Buffalo, New York, AD2010. Not carried by my West Coast distributor SPD Books; must be ordered directly from the Publisher
Richard Owens, Editor
810 Richmond Avenue
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Opening/Reading/Book Signing at MOE’S BOOKS, Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, Calif., MAY 26th, Wednesday eve. 7P.M. at the bookstore. Guest Readers, Andrew Joron and Ivan Arguëlles, my Friends and fellow poets. ---And, again, yes, Sina, you are my “colleague”, but I prefer, “Fellow-Poet.”—
Merci et Salut, je suis votre ami, Sotère
Sotère Torregian is an American poet, born in Newark, New Jersey on June 25, 1941. He attended Rutgers University, and taught briefly at the Free University of New York and Stanford University, where he helped establish the Afro-American studies program in 1969. In the mid-1960s he was associated with the...