It’s April and It Should Be Spring

Welcome, welcome to all of my new German friends! This week has been overwhelming for me. Among the many joys of doing something that is for no gain is when the unexpected might, just might, come your way and becomes a gift you couldn’t imagine arriving.

This blog protest has created that experience. The gifts have come from you. You have created a world for me, one I realize is extraordinarily rare. My gratitude cannot be fully expressed. So today I want to offer two ways of thanking you. And when you read this, I want you to believe that I do feel that I am writing this post to one of you at a time. That’s very important to me.

These last few days have been overwhelming. Christian Zaschke’s article in the weekend edition of Sueddeutsche Zeitung about what I’m trying to do here reached far and wide. Some 200 new subscribers (Welcome!) from some 4,000 new visitors, primarily German speaking people from all over the world, Christian’s SZ fans from everywhere, arrived at at, making that more than 27,000 people who have come to visit since I started this work, many to comment and/or email me. It’s become joyous new work to respond to each who have personally contacted me. It’s like having you all here, all around the kitchen table, and all attending to what matters to you.

This message from Albert Geiger is one of the many.  I think you will be as moved by it as I am, for all it implies for all of us:

“I am from Munich (Germany) and read yesterday the article about your activities in the SZ newspaper. Meanwhile I had the opportunity to visit your website and to enjoy some of your poems. The article and your poems touched me very much, resulting in a strong feeling of solidarity which drove me to write you these few sentences.

The article and your work reminded me vividly of my father who was one of the appr. 230,000 German resistance during the III Reich and who survived almost 11 years of imprisonment only because of literature and tender poems which gave him incredible strength. He even was able to write his own poems.

So I feel that your work is also extremely important for me, and I want to thank you for it.”

And here in an email response is the writer, Christian Zaschke:

“… if I may quickly throw a word into this group: this e-mail by Mr Geiger is extremely moving for me (I wrote the story). And if I may add: reactions in Germany to the text have been so kind, so gentle, so wonderful. I am overwhelmed (even though the readers all love Jack now and not the messenger – rightly so :-).

And it confirms what we all know: people have to engage. And to speak out. We can all reach out and touch the world.

I am so grateful for the time I have spent in Saugatuck and Douglas.”

My abundant thanks to my friend, Norbert Kraas, who contacted Christian about this project. This would not have happened had Norbert not been so kind as to do that. That’s Norbert — kind.

It’s snowing here and the wind is harsh. And it’s Spring. Yes, within this storm, there is Spring.

It’s April and It Should Be Spring

The gods are tired of tending fires.
Against the window, snow.

Each night the hour hand moves
time and us closer to the light.

No one wants to go out. No one
wants to stay in. And the snow.

Robins do their silly walk across the lawn,
dead grass dangling from their beaks.

Crocuses raise their purple risk
through the ice-crusted mulch of maple,

oak, beech, and willow. They last
a day. Clumps of daffodils stay

blossom-tight. We want to put away
sweaters. What would the saints do?

We haul in more wood. It is snowing.
Thursday and it is snowing and wind cold.

Winter’s wedged itself into a crack
along the equinox. We know, in time,

the trees will bud, the flowers rise
and bloom. We do what the earth does.

–Jack Ridl

And today? This is today. Here is hope.

First published in Temenos

Published later in an alternative form in Poetry East

Subsequently published in Practicing to Walk Like a Heron (Wayne State University Press)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Visit Roan & Black and Cabbages & Kings and Reader’s World to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

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And, of course, click here to visit, check out what Jack’s been up to, maybe say hi!

26 thoughts on “It’s April and It Should Be Spring

  1. I just had a telephone conversation with my second cousin (who resides in Erding, Germany, near Munich), about your article in the SZ. She’s thrilled to know that there is some sanity over here.

  2. Jack,
    We just want to thank you for continuing to contribute hope each week to this crazy world we are all struggling through. You are truely a breath of fresh air.
    In deepest gratitude,
    Dave and Karen Zwart

    • Karen and Dave,
      Please know how much this means to me and how it sustains me as I keep at the project.
      It’s been a heartening experience, feeling a community out there that holds fast to
      that which is kind and loving and loyal to what deeply matters to those who hold
      fast to being humane.
      Sending hopes for goodness in your every day and in the days of your marvelous family.
      I cherish you one and all.

    • Hi Dave! My sons, Dan, Marc, and Ben Broersma were at the elementary school that you were principal of! All the boys are doing fine and so am I. You were the only reason I kept my children in that school. Thanks for caring. God Bless!

  3. Congratulations Jack! thx for sharing this wonderful experience. keep up the good work. lots of love to you and julie and mimi-john

    • And John, as I said before, you do this work every single time you sit
      down at the keyboard. You create the counterpoint of goodness to
      “what’s coming down on us.”

  4. I am one of those new subscribers from Germany who were delighted to learn about your work through the süddeutsche Zeitung – vielen vielen Dank an den Autor des Artikels!!! The article was an exceptional pleasure to read (although there are many wonderful articles in every edition of that newspaper) and I Love every line of your poetry. (Accidentally, our winter ended on a similarly cold and unpleasant note but now spring is finally and fully asserting itself, so there IS hope after all). I wish you good spirits, strength and perseverance with the spreading of your ideas and ideals, your texts and your attitudes – may sanity prevail in an insane world.

    • Oh my goodness, Nadja, this from you went straight into the warmth in my heart.
      Thank you so much. Thank you for telling me this. This is a lone act of resistance
      and unless told, all I can do is hope that it can matter to others. You told me, and
      for that I am not only deeply grateful but sustained in the effort. Yes yes YES, may
      sanity prevail. Knowing you are “out there” is so uplifting. And I am glad that you
      have Spring arriving. Here today along Lake Michigan it——–SNOWED!!!

  5. Sir,


    thank you for your poem of today which is very touching as the ones of the past were, too. I will find the time to write in detail to you the next days.


    Yours sincerely


    Cedric Mayer


    Gesendet: Donnerstag, 05. April 2018 um 12:00 Uhr Von: "RIDL.COM" <> An: Betreff: [New post] It’s April and It Should Be Spring

    Jack posted: "Welcome, welcome to all of my new German friends! This week has been overwhelming for me. Among the many joys of doing something that is for no gain is when the unexpected might, just might, come your way and becomes a gift you couldn't imagine arriving. "

    • Dear Cedric,
      I am made joy-filled by your message. I always hope a poem is received as a gift to
      the universe and to any human and humane heart where it arrives. To know of you
      “out there” feeling this way about the work enables me to go on with quiet
      My thanks are abundant.

  6. I always settle myself before opening your post; it is a gathering place for inspiration. As I read, and reread, my breath slows. Deep breath in, slow breath out—ahh. I arise ready to go to my desk to write the next round of postcards, or to go my studio to paint, sometimes directly from your poem.

    Thank you again.

    • What joy it is to know this, Phyllis!! Oh my yes, deep breaths in, deep breaths out. I, too, do that.
      At the yoga center here, it is a delight to do so with others.
      And I love your phrase “settle myself.” That’s a marvelous way to FEEL ones way into most everything.
      Then whatever one is doing, such emerges from that settling. So wise and helpful and restorative.
      I am thrilled that you not only read, but reread. I often think the real experience of reading more
      deeply occurs in the rereading. And to know that you at times paint from a poem is a stunning joy.
      Here there is a history of the poets and the painters being with one another. Our daughter is a painter.
      When she first asked, when very little, what art was, we told her that it was a place, a place where she
      could always be herself, always be with what mattered to her, where unexpected things happen, where
      she will be in touch with deep mystery. Yes, art, real art is a place where one can dwell. I would
      love to see your work if there is some way to send it via a message. My email is
      Thank you in abundance. You have filled my heart with you goodness.

  7. Dear Jack,

    Thank YOU so much for your welcome! It was wonderful to read and I feel I am connected this way with people who wish for another world. Thank you!! Best, Claudia

    […] ………………………………………………………

    claudia max

    literarische übersetzungen aus dem englischen

    wartburgstraße 5

    10823 berlin

    telefon +49. 30. 23 63 47 60

    mobil +49. 1 77. 786 47 40

    Von: “RIDL.COM” Antworten an: “RIDL.COM” Datum: Donnerstag, 5. April 2018 um 12:00 An: Betreff: [New post] It’s April and It Should Be Spring

    Jack posted: “Welcome, welcome to all of my new German friends! This week has been overwhelming for me. Among the many joys of doing something that is for no gain is when the unexpected might, just might, come your way and becomes a gift you couldn’t imagine arriving. “

    • How wonderful to hear this from you, Claudia. Thank you so much for saying this, for sending
      this to me. You have strengthened my hope for connection, for us to discover a world within
      this one that is harming us. Perhaps THIS is the other world we are wishing for.
      With care and caring and gratitude from Lake Michigan to Berlin

  8. So appropriate! While walking Pudge a couple days ago in Grand Rapids, I spotted a patch of crocuses blooming through a patch of snow. And last night as I was locking up the Bijou on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, the ground was blanketed, but I heard the song of spring peepers! I would love to share this at a community read at Horizon scheduled for Apr 15, where the theme is spring and renewal.

    • Betsy, what a perfect description of Spring in Michigan. And right now it’s
      all but a blizzard outside here.

      I would be Tigger Happy were you to read the poem at the community read.
      And honored.


  9. i was touched very deeply by the SZ article and your wonderful inspiring work. i was born and grown up in the GDR (east germany) and i know the feeling to life under an dictatorship very well. it damages everything…
    and the dark horrible shadows of the nazi regime they are still here. so we „must“ stand together, support and help each other in love. thank you very much and sunny spring wishes from germany meike.

    • Dear Meike,
      I don’t have adequate words of thanks and admiration for you.
      You message moved me to the depths of my heart and soul. Yes
      we indeed and in deed “must stand together and help each other in love.”
      Spring will come in actuality and metaphorically.
      I send gratitude across the sky and deep and abiding care. I shall
      draw you into my heart and mind whenever I sit down each week.

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  11. Dear Jack,
    you can possibly not imagine how flattered and honored I felt when I saw my name in this blog post. Humble gratitude is totally on my side! First, I am forever and a day grateful to Garrison Keillor because it was on his wonderful Writer’s Almanac when I heard your sublime “Take Love for Granted“ for the first time. And secondly I am grateful to be able so say we’re friends, if I am allowed to say that.
    Sending love and care from a sunny Tuebingen, Germany (“Spring will show up”, you wrote, and it did!)

    • We’re Friends, Norbert. Oh my yes, we are wonderful friends.
      You are a gift that came my way and I cherish that moment and
      all that has followed.
      Ever grateful for you and your family

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