April is the cruelest month, wrote T.S. Eliot, and when I first read that I imagined that Eliot and I were twin souls: oh yes! April filled me with apprehension and dismay, too.
I later figured out that my kinship with T.S.E. was – in this matter, as in many others – bogus. To Eliot, April was cruel because it woke hopes of a summer happiness that would never come. To me, April was cruel because it presaged a summer weather that really would come, and which I hated for its own sake: for its featureless blue skies, burning sun, and meaningless glare; for the noisy nights and drunken fun that I found frightening and alienating; for the heat which made having a body a misery to me; for the sun that set too late and rose too early. I didn't want summer to come. The only thing I really liked about summer was that women wore fewer clothes.
I've changed. I have a guarded liking for summer now. Something has changed in me physiologically: the hot weather doesn't distress me as much as it used to. I used to dislike the sensation of the free air on my skin, and now I enjoy it. And I have always liked all the green and growing things waking up and reaching for the sky.
Always my days have seemed to me too short to achieve my desire.
Lines converging on the distance, and then flipping over my head, a sudden inversion. What are my hands for? Why all these gifts? And why the long whisper of sand running?
My Dad had a real hourglass, and it fascinated me. My vision was better than it is now, and I could watch the individual sand grains struggling to make it through the neck, and then, each one, drop like a parachutist out of an airplane. And when they were all through, except for a little inevitable dust, you could turn it again. Up became down, freedom became bondage, and the struggle began all over again.
But getting back to lines, convergences, asymptotic approaches, verges and swerves. Sometimes, above the silver ringing, there is a complicated drumming going on as well, a bass throb, a snare rattle, the sharp tok! of wood-block: an endlessly surprising syncopation, slightly delayed gratification, all the more gratifying for the wait. A broad jumper suddenly launched into the air.
A faint taste of vinegar in my bread, an unfamiliar tang to the lettuce. The pins that hold the day in place have slipped, and it's wobbling, wobbling.