April… one can’t help but love her


This snippet of paper used to reside in a pocket in my grandmother’s handbag. The pencil graffiti of ‘April’ (in the top corner) is by me… I must have been about 3 when I did it.

My grandmother was born at the turn of the last century and lived well into her 90s. She had my mother, her first child, at the age of 40, which was well past-it in those days. Mum had me at 30, so to me granny had always had watery blue eyes and white hair.

Granny was a keen gardener, from a hard-working, well-respected farm family, here in Somerset. She married my grandfather (who lived in the next village) after the Great War and they took on his family’s home, Church House, in Chew Magna. It had orchards, a croquet lawn, and a vegetable garden. I’ll dig out some photos sometime.

When grandpa enlisted in WWI he was still a pupil at Sexey’s School, underage and keen as mustard. He was a good cross-country runner and they made him a front-line messenger, carrying notes between the trenches. His experiences, like so many others, were horrific.  After the war, he was often found miles from home, barefoot and confused in his pyjamas, having fled his bed in the night and running as fast as he could. He took over his father’s business as a respected tailor. Grandpa died much younger than he should have, due to his post-war lung complications.

I always think of this scrap of paper at this time of year,  wonder about the grandpa I never knew and remember granny. Spring meant a lot to her.

April said she would;

Then she said she wouldn’t.

Vowed she would be good,

Then declared she couldn’t.

Blushed a rosy hue,

Dropped a tear behind it;

Hid a violet blue,

And sent the sun to find it.

April said she’d mend,

Then decided not to.

Promised smiles to send,

Afterwards forgot to.

Fickle little thing,

Who can then believe her?

Though she laugh and sing,

She’s a gay deceiver.

But a whisper sweet —

One can’t help but love her.

Grass beneath her feet;

Blue, blue skies above her.

Though she often chides;

Makes a vow, to mock it—

Well we know she hides

Spring within her pocket.

I have tried to find out who wrote it, and when, but to no avail. The umbrella title, “The Wonderlands” gives me a clue (could it be Lewis Carol? or T.S.Eliot?), but I have not managed to find anything on the internet. If anyone knows anything about it, please do let me know in the comments below!

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