Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"The Day Before April"

My mother was an elementary school teacher as well as a writer of a few published stories for children. Her love of reading and writing is where I get my love of reading and writing. My sister and I were raised on poetry. One of our favorite collections was Silver Pennies, edited by Blanche Jennings Thompson ("A Collection of Modern Poems for Boys and Girls" - modern, meaning at that time, published in 1959). The preface to the book begins with the lines:

You must have a silver penny
To get into Fairyland.

The premise of the book was that poems themselves are these silver pennies.

Of all the silver pennies in the book, this poem was the one we loved best, by Mary Carolyn Davies:

The Day Before April

The day before April
Alone, alone,
I walked in the woods
And sat on a stone.

I sat on a broad stone
And sang to the birds.
The tune was God's making
But I made the words.

My mother, my sister, and I have long celebrated "the day before April" as a holiday, a Mills family women's holiday. A few years ago I hosted a "day before April" party, with my mother and my boys (who did think it was a somewhat strange party) as the only guests. I usually give my mother flowers on that day.

I've dreamed of writing a book with the title The Day Before April. Maybe someday I will.

It is the day before April today. I'm going to go buy some flowers - daff0dils, probably - and take them to my mother this morning before I head in to work.

Happy day before April, everybody.


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  2. Love that poem, and that 'holiday.'

    All fools aside, March and April have always been sacred months to me. I might pick up that party tradition. (:

  3. A wonderful tradition. Maybe it will spread, or bump off Presidents Day! SW

  4. What a lovely poem, and a great tradition.

  5. The Day Before April is a day of celebration in my family too! My younger sister memorized it for a class recitation assignment in 1st or 2nd grade (over 30 years ago). She practiced it so much we all learned it too. Now every year on March 31, my sister gets many calls and messages from friends and family. It's a great day!

  6. The day before April is my birthday, and I discovered this poem as a young child. Today is my 59th birthday, and this poem is still precious to me. I intend to teach it to my (as yet unborn) grandchildren. Kathy

  7. Happy Day Before April, Claudia! Hope your day is happy.