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Poem of the Day > 56. The Waste Land - T S Eliot - an excerpt

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message 1: by Lee (last edited Nov 17, 2013 02:14AM) (new)

Lee An Excerpt from The Waste Land

V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID

After the torch-light red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and place and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mud-cracked houses
If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
—But who is that on the other side of you?

What is that sound high in the air
Murmur of maternal lamentation
Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London
Unreal


message 2: by Lee (new)

Lee I don't understand this but I really love it - particularly the stanza beginning - Who is the third who always walks beside you? - It's so mysterious and beautiful and creepy .


message 3: by Tracey (new)

Tracey | 304 comments This reminds me of Lord of the Rings, and the ring wraiths flying the air, and the trip to Mordor.


message 4: by Lee (new)

Lee You are so right - (smile of recognition)


message 5: by Hilary (new)

Hilary | 2082 comments Lovely eerie poem. Have you ever read the whole poem? I have to admit I haven't.


message 6: by Lee (new)

Lee I have but very slowly and constantly reminding myself that it doesn't matter if I'm not understanding it!


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