Voyaging To Innocence: The April Edition

Invocation: Spirit of Water: Priya Sarukkai Chabria | Art: Vinaya Sharadha

April Rain Song
Langston Hughes

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

From Chaucer to Eliot, and Ezra Pound to Edna St. Vincent Millay, poets have been writing odes and elegies to the month of April for centuries. Eliot’s famous beginning to the dystopic Wasteland - “April is the cruellest month” - paints a dark picture of a world cowering under a global pandemic (Among other things, he was referencing the Spanish Flu. But his words have been cited liberally in the context of the current historical moment). Chaucer’s general prologue to the Canterbury Tales, written in the 13th Century is less bleak, more laudatory. Written in Middle English, the saga begins with a celebration of April’s ‘shoures soote” (showers sweet) that “the droghte of March hath perced to the roote” (have pierced the drought of March to the root). He continues to outline in loving detail, the explosion of youth and colour that April has brought to the countryside. More recently, Langston Hughes, with characteristic intensity and rawness, writes an ode to the April Rain. Water as a metaphor seems to be a running thread in many such musings on the season. It is apt then that the April edition of the 2021 Poetly Calendar, Voyaging To Innocence, features Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s “Invocation: Spirit of Water”, interpreted visually by Vinaya Sharadha.

Chabria’s poem is written with a gust of whimsy that falls as softly as falling leaves, or the gentle “sleep song” of the rain on Hughes’ roof at night. “Spirit of water, give me hope”, says the persona, invoking the different lives of water, buffeted by its torrent, washed by its slow “ebb”. In this sweet surrender, there is a moment when the poet dissolves into the natural landscape, becomes water. The words brew an alchemy of feeling mingled with transformation in nature. Vinaya’s art draws on this idea, painting a journey that is wistful and mystic. The elements in the image might be seen as cyclical transformations of wave, cloud, mist, and rain, giving form to the fragments of living imagination that make this poem.

This is the fourth in the series of digital prints featuring artists’ interpretations of 12 different poems by Indian poets (released in monthly editions). This project is conceived as an anthology of digital wallpapers for desktops/laptops combining poetry and visual art. You can find the January edition here, the February edition here and the March edition here.

Click on the image to properly view, download, and set it as your wallpaper.

You can purchase Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s latest collection of poetry “Calling Over Water” here.
Vinaya Sharadha can be followed on instagram here.

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