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Song Titles Are Reason May Should Displace April As National Poetry Month

Updated on May 14, 2020

Bobby Darin Made The Cut Without Mack The Knife


April needs to be dismissed as National Poetry month, for its successor on the calendar would be much more appropriate. After all, one of the nation's greatest poets famously declared, "April is the cruelest month."

That quote of course opens The Waste Land, one of the most well-known of the poems by T. S. Eliot. Since this revered lover of cats so detests the fourth month of the year, how can we possibly have chosen April as National Poetry Month?

Another famous American poet offers a second valid argument for pushing the occasion back thirty days, the grammatically-rebellious e.e. cummings. It was he who began one of his most delightful pieces of verse with the word representing the calendar page that starts after April 30, even though he used it as a verb. "may i feel said he i'll squeal said she," is the line that opens that poem, so i say, in much the way cummings might have expressed it, lets make may national poetry month.

If further rationale is necessary, consider the most popular form of verse in our culture, lyric poetry set to music. More songs use the word May in their titles than any other month, including the ten in the following list.

1. Long May You Run by Neil Young
While he first recorded this as the title track for a collaboration with Stephen Stills, Young scored a bigger hit when he placed it on his Unplugged album nearly two decades later.

2. Maybe Baby by Buddy Holly
Somewhere among "Peggy Sue" and "That'll Be The Day" you will find numerous hits like this tentative plea.

3. You May Be Right by Billy Joel
Since it opens an album called Glass Houses, it is appropriate that this smash uses as introduction a rock breaking through a window panel.

4. Maggie May by Rod Stewart
She was the older woman who intoxicated the lusty singer, but soon her age began to turn him off from this May-December romance.

5. Maybelline by Chuck Berry
"Why can't you be true?" is the question asked throughout the rockabilly hit, although an answer is never provided. I guess Chuck buried it.

6. You Just May Be The One by the Monkees
Neither Mickey Dolenz nor Davy Jones sang the lead for this catchy tune, which owes its popularity to Mike Nesmith.

7. Maybe Tonight by the Knack
We cannot be sure if Doug Feiger is addressing this hope to Sharona, even though they both appear on the same debut album Get The Knack.

8. Baby May by Bobby Darin
Although not a chart topper, this single kept Darin on the radio in 1969.

9. I May Know the Word by Natalie Merchant
Successful solo records awaited Merchant after she left 10,000 Maniacs, including this single from Tiger Lily.

10. May This Be Love by Jimi Hendrix
Not all would be lost if this hope is dashed, for Hendrix could still "kiss the sky."


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