Sometimes you realize that you need to get something mailed immediately. Sometimes you end up at the post office without realizing that it’s Tax Day. Sometimes you make mistakes.
Okay, it didn’t end up being all that bad. (The post office had four people at the front desk, which is three times the usual number.) But it did get me thinking about my favorite poet/financial worker, T.S. Eliot, and his poem “The Waste Land.” A poem that begins with the line: “April is the cruellest month” totally gets what it’s like to be in the post office on Tax Day. Also, these lines:
“A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.”
So “The Waste Land” isn’t exactly about standing in line at the post office, but that’s one of the great things about poetry–even when you’re feeling annoyed at bureaucracy and your own inability to remember the date, you can connect it with something much more literary and thoughtful. Poems aren’t just for pouring over in English class–they’re part of our everyday lives, if only to keep us amused while we’re standing in line with a few dozen other unlucky people.
Feel free to share your favorite lines/poems for random life events in the comments!