T.S. Elliot, Beyond “The Wasteland”

                                IL MIGLIOR FABBRO
              I. The Burial of the Dead
  April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.


LINK TO ANNOTATION OF The Wasteland: http://genius.it/www.bartleby.com/201/1.html

I cannot praise The Wasteland enough, but I will leave you with the first few lines for now, and, as experience as taught me, April most certainly is the cruellest month. But as Fitzgerald said:

“Well, let it pass, he thought; April is over, April is over. There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice.”-The Sensible Thing

Please click this LINK: http://genius.com/artists/Ts-eliot

and read all of TS Elliot’s poetry, but especially:

1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

2. Rhapsody on a Windy Night

3. Portrait of a Lady

4. The Four Quartets

5. Little Gidding


6. Hysteria

Some of his lines from the above selections “which cross and cross across [my] brain” (Rhapsody on a Windy Night):


1: “Do I dare disturb the universe?”

“Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent”

“In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.”

“And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,”

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”

“Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?”
  “Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.”
“Do I dare to eat a peach?”

2.”Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium.”

“The memory throws up high and dry
A crowd of twisted things;
A twisted branch upon the beach
Eaten smooth, and polished
As if the world gave up
The secret of its skeleton,
Stiff and white.”
“So the hand of a child, automatic,
Slipped out and pocketed a toy that was running along the quay.”

La lune ne garde aucune rancune”


“The moon has lost her memory.
A washed-out smallpox cracks her face,
Her hand twists a paper rose,
That smells of dust and old Cologne,
She is alone
With all the old nocturnal smells
That cross and cross across her brain.”


3. ” ‘Thou hast committed—’
‘Fornication: but that was in another country,
And besides, the wench is dead.’

The Jew of Malta.”

“…dance, dance
Like a dancing bear,
Cry like a parrot, chatter like an ape.”

“Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins”


“Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in her fingers while she talks.”

“You are invulnerable, you have no Achilles’ heel.
You will go on, and when you have prevailed
You can say: at this point many a one has failed.
But what have I, but what have I, my friend,
To give you, what can you receive from me?
Only the friendship and the sympathy
Of one about to reach her journey’s end.
I shall sit here, serving tea to friends ….”
“I keep my countenance,
I remain self-possessed
Except when a street-piano, mechanical and tired
Reiterates some worn-out common song”
“I have been wondering frequently of late
(But our beginnings never know our ends!)
Why we have not developed into friends.”
“I feel like one who smiles, and turning shall remark
Suddenly, his expression in a glass.
My self-possession gutters; we are really in the dark.”
“Are these ideas right or wrong?”
“And should I have the right to smile?”


In The Triumph of Bullshit, Elliot practically invents the popular usage of the word “bullshit.” And, as you probably already know, his poems from his book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939) founded the “CATS” musical.

LINK to article on How T.S. Elliot Invented the Hipsters: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/01/how-ts-eliot-invented-the-hipsters/384175/


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