the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.


The Cruelest Month

TODAY IS APRIL 6, the 96th day of 2005. There are 269 days left in this year. A memorable quote from T.S. Elliot's Wasteland, comes to mind: "April is the cruelest month".

In the past weeks, we've engaged in an obsessive conversation about the definition and meaning of the end of life. Primed by the relentless media coverage of Terri Schiavo and the Pope, we seem to have acquired a taste for the gory details of infection and uremia, feeding tubes and EEGs.

We watched Terri finally die her prolonged and embattled death. We kept an eagle-eyed vigil over John Paul II, until he serenely succumbed, finally, to years of illness endured painfully and publicly.

April 3, the same day John Paul II returned to his father's house, is the 57th anniversary of one of the most tragic episodes in modern Korean history. That day in 1948, a cruel slaughter began that lasted several years. As many as 30,000 people were killed for their opposition to the then President Syngman Rhee's move to create a separate southern regime.

It was also the 23rd day of the cruelest month that The Bard of Avon – born in April, baptized in April - died in 1616. He influenced the English language more than any other writer in the world. He created over 2,000 new words and phrases including: schoolboy, shooting star, puppy-dog, football, bandit, partner, downstairs, upstairs, leapfrog, alligator, a mimic.

And on that cruel night, of April 14 in 1912, The Titanic, thought to be the fastest ship afloat and almost unsinkable, was on her maiden voyage in the North Atlantic Sea. She crashed into an iceberg and sank. More than 1,500 lives were lost.
And at 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, a shot rang out in Memphis, Tennessee. A great man who had spent thirteen years of his life dedicating himself to nonviolent protest lay sprawled with a gaping wound covering a large portion of his jaw and neck. Violence and controversy followed. In outrage of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, many blacks took to the streets across the country in a massive wave of riots.
25 years ago, on April 24, more than 130 people, mostly children, were killed when a U.S. Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crashed shortly after take-off from Saigon, when the city fell.
"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 tubers"

Melancholia also emerges in spring.

"The sun, the warmth, the flowers, the happy people...
Urrghh. I just wanna crawl into a hole"

Such a moment is perfect to be looking out the window with Fate’s Warning: “Another perfect day, and I will hide away” playing, wearing melancholy like a warm blanket.

It is happiness aching through the sadness.

In some parts of the world, April is springtime. A spring of renewal, a time of celebration. Celebrating Easter, Christians celebrate new life. Despite joy there is grief, for the Pope died on Easter Saturday.
Despite grief, there is joy.

Maybe Eliot was right. If cruelty is more beauty than you can bear and more pleasure than you can partake,
April is the cruelest month”.



Blogger Lucia Lai said...

april cruelest month? gee... no good, no good for me then as my birthday is in april.

anyway maybe it is true that april is the cruelest month for me. you see, april is the month i have to pay so many bills (once a year bill include insurance policies), which means to say april will be the month i'll be 'pokai' so i guess yes eliot was right... april is cruel to me. :)

6:28 PM  

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