Monday, April 6, 2009
April is the Cruelest Month
While in the garden yesterday, TS Eliot's The Wasteland came to mind:
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
I've often puzzled over Eliot characterizing April as cruel, especially since it's a time of rebirth for both nature and the liturgical calendar. But as I pulled the dead leaves off parts of the garden yesterday to be greeted by the tops of eager plants peeking out of the ground, I thought about the balance of life and death, how one must live with the other.
April is National Poetry Month, an art form that seems on the verge of extinction. Or perhaps, as Eliot might have it, it is merely dormant, about to stir from its slumber back to live with renewed vitality.