As I drove around town and country half filled with blossoms of various kinds, plum blossoms, cherry blossoms, daffodils, and tulips, on one day in early March, I muttered to myself one of the most famous first lines of modern poetry: “April is the cruelest month, breeding…” My immediate emotional response to the budding profusion of pink, yellow, and red, was happiness and high-spiritedness – a sentiment far from what is evoked by the word “cruel.” However, as soon as the word “April” was subconsciously introduced in my mind by the warmth and elation in the atmosphere, I followed it by the line composed by T. S. Eliot. Is this a subconscious reaction of Memento mori that keeps one humbled in the awareness of the transience of all life? Or is this a sign of the awareness that some people in the world are suffering even when one enjoys the arrival of the season of rebirth? Or is this a residue of my youthfully wayward response (the propensity to love paradoxes) to everything happy and colorful? Or, perhaps, is this an example of culture affecting our perception of reality?
“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…”
T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land