Wisteria blooming in April, at least in Florida
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain. . .
(T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land")
"April is the cruellest month" . . . Oh really?
For me, April is the loveliest month with breezes, new spring green, fragile flowers. I prefer Geoffrey Chaucer's view in the Canterbury Tales. He says that April is the time of year we want to get out of the house and travel. His group going to Canterbury Cathedral were a lively bunch telling stories that ran the gamut-- humorous, religious, racy, realistic.
Both Chaucer and Eliot wrote poems you probably read in an English literature class. Eliot's lines above start "The Burial of the Dead," Part I of "The Waste Land," considered by scholars to be one of the landmark poems of the English language. He certainly gets our attention with his declaration that April is cruel. Perhaps April seems cruel if its beauty and promise contrasts too sharply with our lives. Spring and particularly April have inspired much poetry. My favorite is Chaucer, and you must admit, a beautiful April day does make your heart sing for travel, for love, for change.
Poets from Shakespeare to Frost have told us of the promise of love in April and spring.
Tennyson put it plainest: " In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." Chaucer describes even the birds as singing all night because love is keeping them awake. ". . . And smale fowles maken melodye,/That slepen al the night with open ye/
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages. (hearts)"
For Robert Browning, April brought nostalgic thoughts of home:
Oh, to be in England now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England sees,
some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
(From "Home Thoughts, from Abroad)
So where ever you are this beautiful April or whatever you are doing, take a moment to look around you. Enjoy the beauty and know the poets are with you.
Sometimes you need go no further than your own
back yard to see the loveliness of an April morning.