“April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain….”
So begins T.S. Eliot’s most famous poem, The Waste Land. Published in 1922, the poem sparked controversy because of its modernist form: its amalgamation of seemingly unrelated, incoherent images, languages and themes: Queen Elizabeth I sailing along the Thames in her royal barge; red faces that leer from the doors of “mud-cracked houses”; towers falling in ancient cities, crumbling into nothingness.
I first read this poem for a university course, and it remains one of my favourites. Its incredibly stirring depictions of death, disillusionment, apathy and confusion in post-World War One leave me with a haunted feeling each time I return to this work.
April is national poetry month. What is your favourite poem?