Sibling Assignment #128: " April Is the Cruelest Month"

Silver Valley Girl gave another assignment using the theme of April. "In T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Burial of the Dead”, Eliot refers to April as the cruelest month.  Read the poem, and write about  Eliot’s thoughts on the month of April."
I will link my siblings' posts when they are available. "The Burial of the Dead" is the first section of the much longer poem "The Waste Land".

The Burial of the Dead
by T.S. Eliot

" April is the cruelest 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 turbers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour."

You can find the complete poem here.

After the war, through the eyes of a child, April was the cruelest month. It was " mixing memory and desire." After war or any type of winter, we want spring to come badly. Spring represents renewed spirit, reawakening, resurrection. Through the eyes of this child or even through the eyes of this adult woman, April can be cruel. Flowers can bloom, then the earth will freeze. Trees can fill with buds only to be blown away in an afternoon. The first violets can be buried in a late snowfall. Growing up in Kellogg we had a long winter, a gray period, then a short spring that emerged in May. There was always a desire for spring. A yearning for the lilacs to bloom, pansies to be planted, and syringa to burst forth on the hillsides. We were chilly in our light Easter dresses. No Easter egg hunts outside for us. We weren't coming out of a war during our April, but you did often wonder what branches would grow out of the stony rubbish of a long winter.
The end of winter is cruel on the spirits of my students. They are lethargic, often tired, and can't get motivated. Coming back from a break they hoped to greet April with a renewed spirit. It is coming. I saw it when the sun shone for awhile the other day. I saw slumped shoulders when the wind blew and snow fell again shortly after. I see baseball mitts and sunglasses. It is coming.

This represents hope I observed today in my garden. I too wanted to be the hyacinth girl. I didn't have enough to have my arms full, but just the scent of those blue flowers pushed the cruel April away a bit.


  1. oh so true How I love Eliot sandy

  2. This one brought tears for me... April has often been cruel bringing the loss of people I've loved. It's a month tinged with sadness along with the joy of the coming warmth and beauty.

  3. A glorious handful of spring flowers and a provocative poem. Lovely post!

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