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88 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1922
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
With ‘I have saved this afternoon for you’;
And four wax candles in the darkened room,
Four rings of light upon the ceiling overhead,
An atmosphere of Juliet’s tomb
Prepared for all the things to be said, or left unsaid.
‘That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
‘Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
‘Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
My ode to T.S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot,
You walked among the stars
In your words,
light trails blazing.
Master of the modern,
Ruler of the poetic.
There is, and was, no poet to compare.
Your mythology and legend stand immense.
Behold the waste land of the world,
Behold the glorious prose of a world shaker.
Though some have called thee,
Mighty and dreadful plagiarist,
Such slander upholds your greatness,
The potency of your reinvention.
There is a power to you - in rewriting the eloquent
So behold T.S. Eliot.
A masterful poet.
One who walked among the stars
And brought the heavens a little nearer.
What more can a poet do?
And I will show you something different from eitherLeading us to the next alleys, Eliot plays A Game of Chess, issues A Fire Sermon, condemns us to a Death by Water and lets us hear What The Thunder Said. All through this trail, we are trembling; more with remorse or excitement, is something we can’t guess without ambiguity. Touching the themes of vengeance, repentance, nostalgia, penance and decay, he halts at ”Datta, Dayadhvan and Damyata” as the final rousing call. This mantra in Sanskrit translates to “Give, Sacrifice and Control” respectively. This trinity, capable of resurrecting our being in a more dignified and buoyant fabric, is left for the reader to comprehend and validate.
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Datta: what have we given?------------
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms
Thou hast nor youth nor ageThus starts this splendid poem, which is a mighty paean to a person’s journey from youth to mellow. And as always detected by a fatigued eye, this journey is laden with discolored beliefs and stung steps.
But as it were an after dinner sleep
Dreaming of both.
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now-----------
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What’s not believed in, or is still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion.
I rejoice that things are as they are andA pity, then, that we can’t always control this rigmarole. What if, dotting the circle, we reach a point from where a deviation threatens to derail our movement, propelling our faith engine to go kaput? The tumultuous fall, then becomes impossible to confine in words, for it pervades everything: our skin, our bones, our heart. Should we be foolish enough to expect a hand to pull us out of this ditch, at this hour, when all we have done till now, in our sturdy capacity, is overlook meek yet expectant eyes? Is hope of such benevolence, an absurdity? Well, there is someone, indeed, to whom we can always look upto.
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice.
Will the veiled sister pray----------
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose.
You! Hypocrite lecteur! – mon semblable, - mon frère!
shantih shantih shantih
You! Hypocrite reader, my likeness, my brother!
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,Yea, T. Stearns, let's traipse around Bensonhurst late at night when all the bars stop selling PBRs and take the dusty mixed-nut bowls off the counter, let's wipe the dust off of our hemp-sewn socks, and knock the much off our patent leather high-top shoes, and walk alone and look at the citylights and meditate on what it all means to be alive, and why rents are so high, and what is a good synonym for boredom (boredom - snoredom - apathy - lassitude - yawn - pococurantism (oooh that's a good one) - disinterest - l'ennui (ooh, nice use of freshman year French, man, high-five)), and why the sea is boiling hot and weather pigs have wings, etc. etc.
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Unlike many ofHe is also a master of allusion, which spans all of time, and does not belong to a signular era. He borrows from Shakespeare, from Homer, Henry James, all sorts of authors and thinkers and tinkerers, and blends them with the lowbrow culture which was pervasive in his day, and has a bold rhythm which is counter to its highbrow literary past. However, despite the highbrow-lowbrow contrast, the varied allusions form a beautiful fugue of meaning, which says something about society as a whole in a realistic way. Dovetailing off of Eliot's convergence of the high and low brow cultures in poetry, there is a kind of split between the ultra-obscurism of Wallace Stevens (whom I adore) and Hart Crane, and the self-indulgent colloquiality of Auden, Berryman, etc. While I think these are talented poets, I think they fall short of the kind of musicality of Eliot's poetry. However, I think poetry these days (which isn't to say all of it, or necessarily much of it, but rather the sort of stock-persona of poetry) is highly self-indulgent and pretentious.
his successors, Eliot's po-
-etry has a meter and rhythm of its
maybe inconsistent, but lyriccal in its own
not just sentences with
Je ne peux pas mentir. Placet rithimorum.
In the room the women come and goIn Williamsburg the hipsters come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.