Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Black History Month, Langston's Birthday and Ground Hog Day

I'm taking a break from shoveling.  It snowed so much here yesterday (Boston) that I missed Langston Hughes' 109th birthday.  I had hoped to be in New York City at the Schomburg Center for the Langston Birthday Party but here are some pictures in case you missed it too.

That black dot is the composter!
At the beginning of this Black History Month we are up to our eyeballs in wet, heavy snow.  I am less concerned about whether that Pennsylvania ground hog sees its shadow and more worried about whether I will be able to find the compost pile after today's delivery of snow, ice, rain, ice, and snow.  The 2nd of February is significant because it falls halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  Besides Ground Hog Day, it is also known as Candlemas Day and St. Brigid's Day.  Regardless of what you call it, it means that pea planting time is only six weeks away (the Ides of March).  I will shovel off a patch of garden dirt, if I have to, so we can have at least a ceremonial cultivation of peas.  Soon after that there will be the need for fresh compost from our very own pile.  Even though it is snow covered and a bit frozen now, it thaws quickly once the days get longer and a bit warmer.  And then all the inhabitants -- the bacteria, earthworms, millipedes, nematodes, and my favorites, slugs and snails -- get busy turning our winter vegetable trimmings and waste into nutritious food for the garden beds.

So tomorrow I will go out and liberate the composter from it's snowy carapace, in belated celebration of our halfway march toward spring, telling it's hibernating inhabitants,

April Rain Song,  by 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.

Collected Poems, 1994, Estate of Langston Hughes, A. A. Knopf.


  1. Great, great rain poem. I'm sighing at the idea of digging a path for the trike, but I need to go a couple of places tomorrow, so it's not optional.

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