As April is a matter of days away, it seems a good time to finally do this post. I was going to put it up awhile ago but…..well, I’ll say why at the end.
April Come She Will is a song by Simon & Garfunkel, released on their Sounds of Silence album in 1966. I’d first heard it on a ‘best of’ type album of theirs and it took awhile for me to really notice it, like so many of the songs I love the most. A lot of the more immediate songs, the catchier ones (by any band), tend to lose their power time, Mrs Robinson being a case in point. Still a great song though! But April Come She Will struck a deeper chord and I can’t imagine that it will ever lose it’s fragile beauty.
When Paul Simon visited England back in the early 60’s, taking in the blossoming folk scene with the likes of Martin Carthy and Davey Graham et al. he stayed with a friend in Swindon (I think this friend later became his girlfriend Kathy, after whom Kathy’s Song was written – another gem) who read him a children’s nursery rhyme about the life cycle of the Cuckoo. I think this is the original rhyme:
The Cuckoo comes in April
She sings her song in May
In June she changes her tune
In July she prepares to fly
In August go she must
Simon took the rhyme, added September at the end, and inserted his own lines between each of the existing lines (which he re-arranged a bit). He also changed the focus of the song from that about the Cuckoo and corresponded it to the changing seasons of romantic love, and maybe even more specifically to the changing seasons of the female heart. From tender beginnings in Spring where her heart is ripe and swelled with love, through the Summer where it has changed it’s song and flown through to Autumn where her heart has grown cold and love is nothing more than a memory. Here’s the song, the lyrics to which I’ve added below. Pure poetry:
April, come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain
May, she will stay
Resting in my arms again
June, she’ll change her tune
In restless walks she’ll prowl the night
July, she will fly
And give no warning to her flight
August, die she must
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold
September, I’ll remember
A love once new has now grown old
I think it’s such a beautiful song and I used it recently on a project in college, the same bookmaking project in which I did the Waterhouse Tree that I covered in a previous post. One of my ideas for that project was to take a number of songs on a nature theme and do a collage for each one and throw them together as a little book. I had only time to do one and that was April Come She Will.
One of the images I used in it was William Henry Gore’s Listed. I did a pencil sketch of it on this page back in about 1990. Here’s the original:
I found Listed in a book of poetry called Images of Love that I was reading at the time and fell in love with it (hence the sketch). The whole book itself (which stands by my bedside even as I write these words) is wonderfully scented and whenever I catch it’s fragrance it stirs in me a kind of sweet melancholy as I remember those happier days 20 years ago when I didn’t have a care in the world. Where did they all go?
Anyway, I thought the painting was just a rather wonderful romantic painting of two Victorian lovers embracing on a balmy summer’s eve as the sun sets. Well, I was slightly right. I found this info about it at gardenofpraise.com
“‘Listed” was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1885, and was painted in the low-lying meadows of the Kennet Valley, just below Newbury, the artist’s native place. The subject tells its own story, though perhaps it is not quite so evident to-day as when it was first shown, as the custom, then prevalent, of wearing ribbons in the cap on enlistment, has fallen into disuse,
“For a soldier I ‘listed, to grow great in fame.
And be shot at for sixpence a day.”
The man, brave in his trappings of glory, is parting from the woman, whose thought, doubtless, is of the danger of his calling. So well is the pathos of the idea expressed that, soon after it was painted, the late Stacy Marks, R.A., who was a member of the Council of the Royal Academy, confessed that the picture affected him to tears. To have earned such a tribute from a distinguished critic who was himself a painter, is an achievement of which few artists can boast, and of which any painter, however popular, might well be proud.
From the book “Famous Paintings” printed in 1913.
Well, here’s my project thingy. Make of it what you will:
The clock images, incidentally, are from Prague’s marvelous astronomical clock in it’s capital square. I must pay a visit!
OK, now I’ll tell you why I’ve only just gotten around to putting this up. A few posts back I put up my cover of Watermark. To do that, I first had to get myself a video capture card for the computer (I mistakenly gave away the one I had on Freecycle. Doh!!). That bought, I recorded the video and stuck it up on YouTube. All well and good. But, about the same time as recording Watermark, I recorded myself doing April Come She Will on acoustic guitar and when I came to capture it on the computer, it wouldn’t work. I’ve had it to the computer shop and it isn’t working for them either. Oh well, I was going to put it in this post but, the world will have to wait. That said, my courage may fail me yet 😉 Singing is not my strong point. If there is one thing I wish I had been blessed with, it’s a good singing voice! I have to wonder why I was chosen for the school choir once upon-a-time!?
Soooooo………….as April is almost upon us and I have no capture card, I thought I’d do this post now. Which you are at the end of 🙂
I’m outta here,