Why is April “the Cruelest Month”? T.S. Eliot’s Masterpiece of Pandemic Poetry

Michael Austin
4 min readApr 1, 2020

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain
-T.S. Eliot, “The Wasteland”

As we enter the month of April in what amounts to a global quarantine, expect to hear a lot of people quoting TS Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land.” And by “hear” I mean “see…



Michael Austin

Michael Austin is a former English professor and current academic administrator. He is the author of We Must Not Be Enemies: Restoring America’s Civic Tradition