Why is April the cruelest month in The Waste Land? I think it's because its annual promise of new life and a fresh start gives false hope to those who live amid the fragments of the modern world.

April is the cruellest month because it is pregnant with the promise of spring, but it's not quite there. Nature torments us during the month of April with a glorious thunderstorm, a few days of balmy weather, and then snow. April is toying with us. Of course, I have no idea what Mr. Eliot had in mind. But April is certainly a cruel, cruel month.

Also: April is when Lisa died. Of course, Mr. Eliot could not have known that, but I feel more connected to The Waste Land because of this fact.

April is a sadist.

April is the cruelest month because in a modern, secular context it offers no potential rebirth or rescue from the metaphoric death of winter. Whereas April usually carries with it the positive connotations of spring and the Christian Ressurrection, in The Waste Land neither of these events occur.

Many religions - Christianity included - contain variations of pagan vegetation myth that personify the seasonal changes in the actions and histories of various godheads. In the context of Eliot's waste land, where much of the world has adopted a secular, hyper-scientific perspective, these myths are reduced to an anthropological pattern rather than an authentic spiritual exploration.

April is therefore the cruelest month because one must stand in a postion that simultaniously observes a religon for its obvious patterns and cannot stand outside of this same system.

April is the cruelest month. I wrote this last April, I think it is the most depressing thing I've ever written. I feel a sense of doom these days, since it is march and I know soon I'll be feeling this way again.

For some reason for the past few days I have been thinking of the idea of heaven. I’ve dreamed of a distant parade of people and beasts (most especially the dogs and the lions all with garlands of pale flowers about their necks) and the people rejoined, reunited at last with each other in soft robes and holding hands. They are singing (even the dogs) and they sound so sweet and in harmony with each other that you know from the sound of their song that no one is alone or searching for anything. No one is wanting or striving, yet they are moving, like the elegant runners I have seen who seem to make their flight over the earth so effortlessly and whose strides fall in unison somehow, unconscious, I think. There is no end. It is infinite.

I was sitting on the train this morning and listening to some music and I found myself crying because the thought of this impossible parade had entered in to my mind again and I wished that in the distance I could be assured that all of the lost people: the innocent, the confused, the hated (and the animals too, who are to dumb to ever know their place in the world, yet still seem to know love, like my small hound dog, Bobick) I wished that they were really there and that they could sing at last and that the truth (the truth is that life grows dark when it ends and is snuffed out in a gasp of fear-- leaving nothing behind but flesh to rot and memories to plague the living) -- I wished that that awful truth were not so.

But, I know better.

Well, here is spring for me. My window can stay open all night again. Each year, along with the earth, windows crack and tear open, like these new flowers (the violent crocuses and absurd daffodils) breaking open old memories and they tear and stab in to me harder and harder as each season passes.

Someday every moment of this season will be an anniversary of loss. Another warm summer that my silly old dog will never see, another year without any heaven.
Refer to the epigraph from the Sibyl in Eliot's "The Wasteland." To a woman who was granted eternal life but forgot to ask for eternal youth, April would be the cruelest month. It would mark the coming of a new year, a chance for all of earth's creatures to be reborn and face all the joys of the upcoming spring.

But not for the Sibyl. She must rot away inside her cage, watching the snow melt and knowing that in 365 days it will melt again. There is no escape from the cycle; she can not leave The Round. Shrouded in despair, the Sibyl laments, "April is the cruelest month."

I've always thought it was a parodic reference to the prologue of The Canterbury Tales:

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, ...

which in modern English looks something like this:

When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage, ...

(from http://pages.towson.edu/duncan/chaucer/duallang1.htm )

so Eliot's providing a contrasting view of Spring / rebirth / sex:

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.

e.g. contrast
'April ... stirring dull roots with spring rain'
with
'April with his sweet showers' piercing March 'to the root' (balls-deep) and 'bathing' her with his 'liquor'.

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