"New currents of deep joy in common things we find."
A Calendar of Sonnets: April
- No days such honored days as these! While yet
- Fair Aphrodite reigned, men seeking wide
- For some fair thing which should forever bide
- On earth, her beauteous memory to set
- In fitting frame that no age could forget,
- Her name in lovely April’s name did hide,
- And leave it there, eternally allied
- To all the fairest flowers Spring did beget.
- And when fair Aphrodite passed from earth,
- Her shrines forgotten and her feasts of mirth,
- A holier symbol still in seal and sign,
- Sweet April took, of kingdom most divine,
- When Christ ascended, in the time of birth
- Of spring anemones, in Palestine.
How Was It
- Why ask, dear one? I think I cannot tell,
- More than I know how clouds so sudden lift
- From mountains, or how snowflakes float and drift,
- Or springs leave hills. One secret and one spell
- All true things have. No sunlight ever fell
- With sound to bid flowers open. Still and swift
- Come sweetest things on earth.
- So comes true gift
- Of Love, and so we know that it is well.
- Sure tokens also, like the cloud, the snow,
- And silent flowing of the mountain-springs,
- The new gift of true loving always brings.
- In clearer light, in purer paths, we go:
- New currents of deep joy in common things
- We find. These are the tokens, dear, we know!
Helen Maria Hunt Jackson (1830–1885) was an American poet and advocate for improving treatment and conditions of Native Americans. Born in Amherst, MA, Jackson was friends with fellow Amherst poet Emily Dickinson. The two poets had attended school together and carried on a lifelong correspondence, although few of the letters between the two women have survived. Jackson was better known for her fiction—including her most popular novel, Ramona (1884), which paints a picture of Native Americans in Southern California after the Mexican-American War; however, her poetry was praised by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who often read Jackson’s work at recitals and other speaking engagements.