April

 

Boston Marathon BombingsWhat is it about the month of April that creates so much tragedy? This April, Boston searches for answers, as does the devastated town of West, Texas in the aftermath of yet another springtime tragedy.

What is it that produces such awfulness this time of year, a time of new beginnings — the month T.S. Elliot described as the cruelest of all?

Scratching the surface, you’ll find the season of buds and blooms marred by the horrors of the incendiary Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas in 1993, and 1983's suicide bombings in Beirut. Add tragedies Columbine, Virginia Tech, the Los Angeles Riots and an image begins to emerge of the But the cruelty April is capable of dishing out.

Before drones made warfare a year-round happening, April was the time of year when battlefields dried out enough to keep armies from being mired in mud, the season of combat. And taxes. But there seems to be deeper, more philosophical and metaphysical reasons for the mayhem and madness we’ve seen this year, and in Aprils past.

Here's a 3:45 audio essay that delves into April’s issues, with insight from Al Young, California's former poet laureate. Click, play, share your thoughts.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.