Sunday, April 07, 2013

When I Was A Boy, April Wasn't Interminable, But Now I've Put Away Childish Things

The other day, I said, "April is the cruelest month," to someone. They asked what that meant, and I had to admit, that I had no idea, but that I knew it came from a poem by T. S. Eliot, maybe The Waste Land. I went on to admit, that I had never understood what any of Eliot's poems meant, not even the ones from Cats. Today, I looked up the Waste Land and I was right on all counts; the poem does say that about April, and I didn't understand any of it. I remember that we studied it in high school, and back then, I even bought a book of Eliot poems. But that was when I thought I was going to be one type of person, but instead I became the Manqué Man.
The poem starts out "April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire." So far so good, but that's followed by several lines of apparent gibberish and German, and then something we can all get behind, "I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter."
I want to go south for the winter, and I'd like to read much of the night, but probably not Eliot because his poems are too dense, or I am.
As for why I'd like to go south for the winter, the whole April thing came up because it's been snowing so much here lately after having been briefly spring-like. Yesterday it snowed a foot, and the Weather Service says another, bigger, storm is looming. Looming? Doesn't that sound a little portentous for a weather forecast? Besides, nothing  good ever looms. Probably because good things don't even approach, they tend to recede, or crumble into dust. At least if April has anything to say about it. And apparently, I owe February an apology.

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