April’s Fool

            This year Easter coincides with April Fool’s Day.  It’s an odd conjunction that’s only happened once in my lifetime.  The next time is not until 2029.  It got me thinking about fools and saints.

          elephant's child 8-alison-fennell Of all the archetypes embedded in our psyches, my favorite is the Fool.  She is an Elephant’s Child, full of insatiable curiosity.

The Fool stands forever at the beginning place, poised to step, plunge, leap, jump, sail into the unknown.  He carries baggage like everyone else, but it’s only a bindle full, not a 50 lb. backpack or a trunk, and there’s nothing left in storage.  She travels freely, quite of her own accord, out past the edge of town.  The Fool possesses only his innocence and from that innocence, arises an immediate and direct form of truth-telling that can be extremely aggravating and extremely wise.


         hare riding to hunt with snail perched on gauntletnaked man cover




Theia mania (madness sent as a gift from the gods) is an ancient Greek expression for the erratic, contrary, bizarre, silly and and seemingly mad behavior (“crazy wisdom”) of certain types of saintly ascetics found in all world religions.  Sometimes called God’s Frank_C_Gaylord_-_Francis_of_Assisi_(God_s_Fool)Fools they deliberately practice grotesque, anti-social behavior meant to upset apathy and complacency.  They play practical jokes designed to shake people awake and force them into presence. God’s Fools ask difficult questions, and shout things aloud others are too afraid to mention.  Their behavior pokes fun at societal assumptions about how people ought to behave.

This odd conjunction of holy and foolish set me to thinking about Christ as April’s Fool.  His parables equate to zen koans, he breaks traditional dietary laws, disrupts the marketplace, allows a bleeding woman to touch him and consorts with SamaritaHeyoka-1-1ns.  He walks on water, roams the wasteland, living off the land and the kindness of strangers, with no possessions of his own.  Like any good shaman, his intent is always to awaken people up to the larger, more intense and brilliant world of the spirit that surrounds them.  Acting as April’s agent, he encourages men, women and children to renew their lives; to plant themselves in fertile ground and bloom.  Rebirth is the Christ’s mantra.

Poet’s too, are often called fools.  April is their month for celebration and calling attention to themselves.  Unlike the saints, poverty is not our goal!  Nevertheless, trying to make a living purely on poetry, is near to impossible.

Some would call our versifying a form of madness.   Like the Fool, poets are truth tellers, often saying things in verse that others do not dare to say aloud.  We are adept at clever metaphors, allusions, innuendo, and parodies, that question or protest the status quo.  No subject it too taboo to tackle.  Like the heyókȟa (Lakotan sacred clown) we insist the sky is green, rather than blue, just to get folks to look up for a change; to see and hear and think for themselves…

Turns out that April is a perfect month for saints and fools and poets…

when faces called  flowers float out of the ground

by e.e.cummings

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it’s april(yes,april;my darling)it’s spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we’re alive,dear:it’s(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it’s spring(all our night becomes day)o,it’s spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)


This entry was posted in April Fool's Day, Archetype, Birth-Death-Rebirth, Easter, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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