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
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.
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