Literary Hook: ‘April Morning’ and May 9-16 writing workshop

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

Isn’t it good to have spring here at last? Of course, we all know another snow might yet greet us some unsuspecting day, but for the most part, it’s spring.

March brings snow, crocuses and the beginning of daffodils and tulips. By April, many birds have returned, along with other garden creatures.

The following poem was first published in the collection Who Walks Among the Trees with Charity, Wind Publications, 2005.

April Morning

I love to wake without alarm,
Open the window by the bed,
Find April arriving, the garden
Thriving with crocus and cardinal.

Now a speckled dove traverses
Nubby, sheered prairie grass.
Sparrows nest in blue spruce.
Inside, wind rustling white curtains.

Outside, children with backpacks
Trundling off to school, where
At least one teacher will show kindness
To that little soldier who finds

This thick spring day, well,
Just a bit too much. The tiniest
Black and white bees burrow
Little volcanoes around tree roots.

Good neighbor Tom says they’re harmless.
Good for the garden he tells me.
Why, they eat pests beneath dark soil—
Ones you didn’t even know were there.

You have known places dark
As Illinois soil, where the ice overstayed
Its welcome. Who hasn’t who walks
Among the trees with charity?

You too have lived largely
Like the old magnolia, its pink saucers
Fragrant as paradise,
The good bees buzzing.

‘The Process of Writing’ May 9-16

Each year, this column runs a series about offerings for writers at The Clearing in Door Country, Wisconsin.

As taken from this year’s Clearing catalog: “The mission of The Clearing is to provide diverse educational experiences in the folk school tradition, in a setting of quiet forests, meadows and waters. The Clearing is a place where adults who share an interest in nature, arts and humanities can learn, reflect and wonder. This is in keeping with the goals of Jens Jensen, founder of The Clearing, who loved it as a special place where one could feel kinship with the earth and reassess one’s life.”

“The Process of Writing” will be offered May 9-16. This class will include a balance of discussion, writing prompts, time to write, sharing and critiquing. Discussions will include: examining the creative process, motivation and ideas for writing, the pros and cons of critiquing, preparation and protocol for public readings, community influence, and marketing poetry and short prose. Flash fiction, memoir, essay and poetry will be covered.

I will be facilitating this workshop again, and hope to see some area writers there. For more information about tuition, lodging, meals and a more detailed description of a week at The Clearing, see or call toll-free 877-854-3225.

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet.

From the April 28-May 4, 2010 issue

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