Friday, September 15, 2017

Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot


Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
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?”
Let us go and make our visit.

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

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
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.

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,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
               And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
               And should I then presume?
               And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
               “That is not it at all,
               That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

The Wasteland (Part I) by T.S. Eliot

FOR EZRA POUND
                               
              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. 
Winter kept us warm, covering 
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding 
A little life with dried tubers. 
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee 
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, 
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. 
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch. 
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, 
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, 
And I was frightened. He said, Marie, 
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. 
In the mountains, there you feel free
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter. 

  What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only 
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, 
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, 
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only 
There is shadow under this red rock, 
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock), 
And I will show you something different from either 
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. 
                      Frisch weht der Wind 
                      Der Heimat zu 
                      Mein Irisch Kind, 
                      Wo weilest du? 
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago; 
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden, 
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not 
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither 
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 
Looking into the heart of light, the silence. 
Oed’ und leer das Meer

  Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante, 
Had a bad cold, nevertheless 
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, 
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she, 
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor, 
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!) 
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks, 
The lady of situations. 
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel, 
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card, 
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back, 
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find 
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water. 
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring. 
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone, 
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself: 
One must be so careful these days. 

  Unreal City, 
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, 
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. 
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street, 
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours 
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine. 
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: “Stetson! 
“You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 
“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? 
“Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men, 
“Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again! 
“You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

The Wasteland (Part II) by T.S. Eliot

              II. A Game of Chess


The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne, 
Glowed on the marble, where the glass 
Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines 
From which a golden Cupidon peeped out 
(Another hid his eyes behind his wing) 
Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra 
Reflecting light upon the table as 
The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it, 
From satin cases poured in rich profusion; 
In vials of ivory and coloured glass 
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes, 
Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused 
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air 
That freshened from the window, these ascended 
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames, 
Flung their smoke into the laquearia, 
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling. 
Huge sea-wood fed with copper 
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone, 
In which sad light a carvéd dolphin swam. 
Above the antique mantel was displayed 
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene 
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king 
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale 
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice 
And still she cried, and still the world pursues, 
“Jug Jug” to dirty ears. 
And other withered stumps of time 
Were told upon the walls; staring forms 
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed. 
Footsteps shuffled on the stair. 
Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair 
Spread out in fiery points 
Glowed into words, then would be savagely still. 

  “My nerves are bad tonight. Yes, bad. Stay with me. 
“Speak to me. Why do you never speak. Speak. 
  “What are you thinking of? What thinking? What? 
“I never know what you are thinking. Think.”

  I think we are in rats’ alley 
Where the dead men lost their bones. 

  “What is that noise?”
                          The wind under the door. 
“What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?” 
                           Nothing again nothing. 
                                                        “Do 
“You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember 
“Nothing?”

       I remember 
Those are pearls that were his eyes. 
“Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?”   
           
                                                                           But 
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag— 
It’s so elegant 
So intelligent 
“What shall I do now? What shall I do?” 
“I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street 
“With my hair down, so. What shall we do tomorrow? 
“What shall we ever do?” 
                                               The hot water at ten. 
And if it rains, a closed car at four. 
And we shall play a game of chess, 
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door. 

  When Lil’s husband got demobbed, I said— 
I didn’t mince my words, I said to her myself, 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
Now Albert’s coming back, make yourself a bit smart. 
He’ll want to know what you done with that money he gave you 
To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there. 
You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set, 
He said, I swear, I can’t bear to look at you. 
And no more can’t I, I said, and think of poor Albert, 
He’s been in the army four years, he wants a good time, 
And if you don’t give it him, there’s others will, I said. 
Oh is there, she said. Something o’ that, I said. 
Then I’ll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look. 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
If you don’t like it you can get on with it, I said.
Others can pick and choose if you can’t. 
But if Albert makes off, it won’t be for lack of telling. 
You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique. 
(And her only thirty-one.) 
I can’t help it, she said, pulling a long face, 
It’s them pills I took, to bring it off, she said. 
(She’s had five already, and nearly died of young George.) 
The chemist said it would be all right, but I’ve never been the same. 
You are a proper fool, I said. 
Well, if Albert won’t leave you alone, there it is, I said, 
What you get married for if you don’t want children? 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon, 
And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot— 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. 
Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight. 
Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night. 

The Wasteland (Part III) by T.S. Eliot

III. The Fire Sermon


 










The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf 
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind 
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed. 
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song. 
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, 
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends 
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed. 
And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors; 
Departed, have left no addresses. 
By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept . . . 
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song, 
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long. 
But at my back in a cold blast I hear 
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear. 

A rat crept softly through the vegetation 
Dragging its slimy belly on the bank 
While I was fishing in the dull canal 
On a winter evening round behind the gashouse 
Musing upon the king my brother’s wreck 
And on the king my father’s death before him. 
White bodies naked on the low damp ground 
And bones cast in a little low dry garret, 
Rattled by the rat’s foot only, year to year. 
But at my back from time to time I hear 
The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring 
Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring. 
O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter 
And on her daughter 
They wash their feet in soda water 
Et O ces voix d’enfants, chantant dans la coupole! 

Twit twit twit 
Jug jug jug jug jug jug 
So rudely forc’d. 
Tereu 

Unreal City 
Under the brown fog of a winter noon 
Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant 
Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants 
C.i.f. London: documents at sight, 
Asked me in demotic French 
To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel 
Followed by a weekend at the Metropole. 

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back 
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits 
Like a taxi throbbing waiting, 
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives, 
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see 
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives 
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea, 
The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights 
Her stove, and lays out food in tins. 
Out of the window perilously spread 
Her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays, 
On the divan are piled (at night her bed) 
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays. 
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs 
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest— 
I too awaited the expected guest. 
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives, 
A small house agent’s clerk, with one bold stare, 
One of the low on whom assurance sits 
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire. 
The time is now propitious, as he guesses, 
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired, 
Endeavours to engage her in caresses 
Which still are unreproved, if undesired. 
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once; 
Exploring hands encounter no defence; 
His vanity requires no response, 
And makes a welcome of indifference. 
(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all 
Enacted on this same divan or bed; 
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall 
And walked among the lowest of the dead.) 
Bestows one final patronising kiss, 
And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit . . . 

She turns and looks a moment in the glass, 
Hardly aware of her departed lover; 
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass: 
“Well now that’s done: and I’m glad it’s over.”
When lovely woman stoops to folly and 
Paces about her room again, alone, 
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand, 
And puts a record on the gramophone. 

“This music crept by me upon the waters” 
And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street. 
O City city, I can sometimes hear 
Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street, 
The pleasant whining of a mandoline 
And a clatter and a chatter from within 
Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls 
Of Magnus Martyr hold 
Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold. 

               The river sweats 
               Oil and tar 
               The barges drift 
               With the turning tide 
               Red sails 
               Wide 
               To leeward, swing on the heavy spar. 
               The barges wash 
               Drifting logs 
               Down Greenwich reach 
               Past the Isle of Dogs. 
                                 Weialala leia 
                                 Wallala leialala

               Elizabeth and Leicester 
               Beating oars 
               The stern was formed 
               A gilded shell 
               Red and gold 
               The brisk swell 
               Rippled both shores 
               Southwest wind 
               Carried down stream 
               The peal of bells 
               White towers 
                                Weialala leia 
                                Wallala leialala 

“Trams and dusty trees. 
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew 
Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees 
Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.”

“My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart 
Under my feet. After the event 
He wept. He promised a ‘new start.’ 
I made no comment. What should I resent?” 

“On Margate Sands. 
I can connect 
Nothing with nothing. 
The broken fingernails of dirty hands. 
My people humble people who expect 
Nothing.” 
                       la la 

To Carthage then I came 

Burning burning burning burning 
O Lord Thou pluckest me out 
O Lord Thou pluckest 

burning