Monday, May 09, 2011

No, Mr. Eliot, April is not the cruelest month

T.S. Eliot's 1922 poem "The Waste Land" begins as such:

"APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

On the contrary, in my world, May has become the cruelest month. So many days that used to be happy and hopeful in one single month are now marked with painful memories; tugging at the heart and leaving tear-stained pillows at night.

The dreams still come, but the nightmares follow accordingly. Or vice-versa. It's hard to have one without the other anymore.

It has almost been a year now and everyday brings with it a haunting recollection of the same day, exactly one year ago.

 "This is the same day last year that I first ..."

"This day last year was the last time that I..."

So much pain and helplessness in those days. So many days in this month that bring tears and sadness. So many months in a year -- can't we just do away with May?

With tear-streaked cheeks and heavy heart, god, how I wish you were here.

 I still keep hoping that I'll wake up and it will all have just been a bad dream.

(Excerpt from "The Waste Land")


"AFTER the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and place and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses

If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
—But who is that on the other side of you?"

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