April is the Cruelest Month

National Poetry Month picture, with first lines of poems

April is about to find itself off my Christmas list.

I’d thought, with it about to be over and all, that I could simply pretend everything was fine, and that we’d just not speak about it until next year.  It’s much easier to ignore the problem, and hope it goes away than it is to talk about it, and acknowledge the painful truths about “the cruelest month.”

I never really thought I’d agree with Eliot on this point, and yet, April continues to conspire against us all, waging a war of violence and extended winter.

Over the course of my life, I was willing to let April and its reputation for cruelty simply pass by. “It’s an illusion, “ I told myself, “April can’t be all that bad. There must be some wonderful events that happened in April, and everyone forgets about them, because they focus on the bad stuff.”

I shouldn’t have looked.

And yet, look I did.

I opened the Google, and found a list of the prominent events of Aprils past. I knew of Shakespeare’s birthday and Earth Day, surely, there was some other reason to celebrate the month.  I thought it would make a “feel-good” story for the end of the month, when I could bring up the glories of the fourth month of the year.

Sadly, I’ve already pretty much shared with you the entirety of the “good stuff.”

Given how slim the pickings are I considered padding the list out by reminding everyone that it’s the month the Civil War ended. Unfortunately, you’d probably also remember It’s also the month it started, so that hardly puts it in the plus column. And, of course, Booth couldn’t be bothered to wait until May for his assassination of Lincoln, on no, he wanted to put the blame squarely on the front porch of April’s many crimes.

There are a handful of other pluses to the month, but, they are inadequate to the task of lifting the month out of its dark roots.  All I wanted was to feel better about April, and ended up feeling much, much worse.

At this point, I tried to reassure myself that every other month has probably got an equally high proportion of horrible events, so singling April out for the misdeeds it happens to harbor is entirely unfair.  It seems unlikely that any month could be so cosmically ordained to be skewed toward the craptacular.

This was the point I realized I really didn’t want to know.

I didn’t want to scroll through pages of horrible tragedy to see if there is such a thing as a month filled with the most despair, or to prove that April can’t possibly be the worst month on the calendar.

In the midst of the Googling, I was reminded that April is National Poetry Month, and I could no longer decide whether this was evidence that it was the worst month of the year, or whether it was just coincidence. Is its occurrence in April an indicator that people should focus on poetry to push past the gloom?  Or does it just mean that April is such a downer that every sensitive soul destined to document their pretentious inner turmoil increases their output in April?

There’s two days left of April for the year. Only two days for it to work its way back onto my “nice” list. April, I’m begging you, please. Do us all a solid. Bring us something awesome.