April is National Poetry Month, a time to honor the legacy and achievements of so many extraordinary poets as well celebrate our first Westchester Poet Laureate, B.K. Fischer. This April is even more significant since we are emerging from a difficult year of sheltering, losses, grief, and for many people lack of contact and isolation. April promises to bring a revival of spirit and the promise of spring, as beautifully expressed in the first stanza of “Song of a Second April” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
April this year, not otherwise/ Than April a year ago,/ Is full of whispers, full of sighs,/ Of dazzling mud and dingy snow/ Hepaticas that pleased you so /Are here again, and butterflies.
As a psychotherapist and poet – and co-owner of Tarrytown’s Muddy Water Coffee & Café – the blending of poetry and psychology has served as a vehicle to better understand and more deeply experience my self, relationships, community, politics, culture, societal injustices, art, and dreams. Poetry is a grounding force amid chaos, a voice amid silence, a sacred witness, and bears the power to make change. We are currently living in a time of transition and rebirth. I can’t think of a more concise and vivid depiction of where we find ourselves today than through the words expressed in Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb”.
When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.
Loretta Oleck is a Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee, a finalist in the selection of 2021 Westchester County Poet Laureate, and the author of three poetry books.