The speaker spends the eight lines of the poem taking the reader through some ways that his partner acts. Sometimes she’s joyful, just like the April season is sometimes sunny. Other times she’s more solemn, just like April is sometimes cloudy and dark. It’s these contrasts in ‘Always Marry an April Girl’ that make the poem a pleasure to read.
Explore Always Marry an April Girl
‘Always Marry an April Girl’ by Ogden Nash is a simple and effective poem in which the speaker discusses the attributes of a specific kind of woman.
The speaker begins by expressing his gratitude that he’s found “April” in his arms. This makes more sense as the lines go on. He’s grateful that he’s found a woman who demonstrates the attributes that he loves in women. He wants someone who resembles, in her attitudes and personality, the month of April. The following lines explain that this means she’s at times golden and others cloudy. She’s sometimes easy to get along with, and other times their relationship is more difficult. She’s “roudy” and other adjectives. The poem concludes with the speaker stating that she is always changing but also always true.
You can read the full poem here.
Praise the spells and bless the charms,
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
In the first lines of ‘Always Marry an April Girl,’ the speaker begins by expressing his gratitude that he’s found the person he wants to marry. She is a special kind of woman who, as the poem later reveals, has a changing personality he loves. She’s like the month of April, he notes. She’s sometimes sunny and happy and other times cloudy and more solemn. He loves her changing nature. The transitions between “Gracious” and “cruel” are likely to keep him on his notes, always guessing what’s going to happen next.
The title notes that one should “always” marry this kind of person but it’s clear from these first lines that this relationship is not going to suit everyone. Some people are likely going to be seeing out a month that’s far more dependable, like July.
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
I love April, I love you.
The second half of the poem, which is made up of two more couplets, concludes the speaker’s thoughts about his partner. She’s “soft in flowered language” and “cold with sudden anger.” These juxtaposed depictions of the woman are interesting to imagine, even more so when they’re used alongside natural imagery. The perfect rhymes add to this and make the poem far more romantic than it might otherwise be as it comes to a close. The speaker says that she’s always changing but also “ever true.” This poem ends with the perfect rhyme of “true” and “you.”
Structure and Form
‘Always Marry an April Girl’ by Ogden Nash is an eight-line poem that is contained within a single stanza of text. Like most Nash poems, the language is straightforward and easy to understand. He also uses a simple rhyme scheme of AABB, and so on, changing end sounds from line to line. The four couplets that make up this poem mostly contain seven syllables each, but a couple of the lines stretch to eight syllables.
Nash makes use of several literary devices in ‘Always Marry an April Girl.’ These include but are not limited to:
- Imagery: can be seen when the poet uses especially interesting descriptions. For example, “April golden, April cloudy” and “April cold with sudden anger.”
- Personification: occurs when the poet imbues human characteristics on non-human creatures, forces, or objects. In this case, he personifies the month of April.
- Caesura: can be seen when the poet inserts a pause into the middle of a line. For example, “April golden, April cloudy” and “I love April, I love you.”
- Alliteration: occurs when the poet repeats the same consonant sounds at the beginning of words. For example, “cloudy” and “cruel” in lines three and four as well as “soft” and “sudden” in lines five and six.
The speaker is a man who is celebrating his relationship with his wife, the April girl. He’s encouraging others to seek out similar partners through his depictions of her cruelty, beauty, happiness, and sadness.
The tone is loving and reverential. The speaker is celebrating his relationship with the “April Girl” and encouraging others to seek out something similar. He sees the ups and downs of her personality to be one of her most endearing features.
The purpose is to explore how a couple does not need to be happy all the time in order to have a successful relationship. The speaker likes that his partner is sometimes up and happy and other times cloudy. It adds excitement to their lives.
The themes in this piece are love and marriage. The poet is also interested in contrasting personality traits and the way that certain relationships work better than others. The relationship depicted in these lines is not a classic, romanticized one. It is multi-layered and real.
The mood is amused and contemplative. Readers are likely going to walk away thinking about what the speaker has suggested and whether this kind of relationship is right for them. His appreciation for his partner is so clear that the poem is also quite uplifting and joyful.
Readers who enjoyed ‘Always Marry an April Girl’ should also consider reading some other Ogden Nash poems. For example:
- ‘The Duck’ – a short eight-line poem that humorously talks about the duck and its sound.a
- ‘Old Men’ – a simple poem about death and if death matters when old men reach an advanced age.
- ‘Crossing the Border’ – a short and direct poem in which the speaker discusses aging, family, and friends.