Fare thee well, Aprille

1 05 2011

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire

It is become cliché.

And also, because it is T. S. Eliot’s, problematic.

But, though I hate to admit it, I’ve been saying The Wasteland’s first three lines over and over in my head since before this month began because it comforts me.  Because, though I’ve understood the agony that comes of mixing memory and desire for many years, in this year, this spring, it is almost too much.

the rock needs incisions

And the earth needs furrows

I cannot be more explicit with you.  I just can’t.  And because of this, my writing is circling and never finding its way to the center.  I do think there is something linked between my repetition of the words and my current obsession with WWI.

yet what that one does

Nobody knows

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the last veterans of the Great War are dying and their memories go with them.

What the memories take with them is an attachment to that reality which is, with the battle of the Somme alone, for example 420,000 British,  200,000 French men and 500,000 Germans

A traveller walks

With the other,

Photographs and footage (here) exist but they are unreal.

unreal city

They only intensify the alien quality of that war.

but what is this

But I digress.   The Wasteland was written in the wake of WWI.  In the wake of unimaginable destruction and death.  And in the utter disillusionment with the capacity of those in power, whether it be in the military or in politics.

I am not the only person who has compared then to now.  Except, it isn’t the same and it doesn’t help anyway.  Except, inside of me sometimes it does.

But I have no right to this place in time, though I do have a right to Eliot’s words because we all do.

your shadow at morning

Forgive me my trespasses on the solid ground of a past I had no part in.

your shadow at evening

Forgive me my immense banalities and my elevation of the quotidian.

fear in a handful of dust

Forgive me the fact that I obscure everything about why memory and desire and mourning (not in people but in things) are words that I am using to to describe my state.

has died and is lost to me

Forgive what is in and outside of me.


For ever and evermore.

Beside the grottos of the sea

quotes are by TS Eliot and Friedrich Hölderlin




One response

13 11 2011
Tim Colman

Thanks for this writing you are doing. Found you through the NYT story you wrote studying quail in MX Keep up the good work.

Whenever you get back into Washington, check out my work Good Nature Publishing http://www.goodnaturepublishing.com



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