02 April 2008

April is the Cruellest Month

For National Poetry Month, I'm going to share a few of my favorite poems, both by me and by much better poets. I can't promise it'll be every day, but I'm going to try. This will be a bit of a stretch since I'm not a huge reader of poetry, but maybe it'll force me outside my shell and get me to remember the ones that I like. I like the idea of reading poetry, but actually doing it is pretty hard. Very few collections of modern poetry are readable outside of a classroom setting, with someone to guide you through them.

I'm sorry for the cop out of starting with such a famous poem, but I can't help thinking of the irony that April is NaPoMo when I read these words. Also, for a student at BYU with no spring break forthcoming, at least the first part of April is always the cruelest. This is also one of the more lucid passages from "The Wasteland"--besides the chess match, which I also love. I like Eliot's very British reflection on the character of the seasons. It seems that as a suburbanite, I tend to not notice their character as much as I do the inconveniences they cause me. I'd like to be more British in that way--to have a knowledge of the seasons planted in my brain.

April is the cruellest 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.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

-T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland" (lines 1-11)

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