I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Anniversary nuggets, hand-picked

T. S. Eliot, dead fifty years ago, is said to be difficult. No doubt. There's no way I could reason out The Waste Land or Four Quartets  and I'm not tempted to try. But, as a non-poetic gent, I recognise passages that are unmistakable poetry. Ignoring April, the world's end, eating peaches, and the state of the camels here's my mini bouquet.


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.
Prufrock (The unexpected; read the bold repetition aloud)

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.
Prufrock (Hear the waves' ebb and flow)

You will see me any morning in the park
Reading the comics and the sporting page
Particularly I remark
An English countess goes upon the stage
A Greek was murdered at a Polish dance.
Another bank defaulter has confessed.
Portrait of a Lady (Banality becomes something else)

A broken spring in a factory yard,
Rust that clings to the form that the strength has left
Hard and curled and ready to snap.
Rhapsody on a Windy Night (Ah, the observation)

Now when she died there was silence in heaven
And silence at her end of the street.
Aunt Helen (Do you need any more?)

Those with a thousand small deliberations
Protract the profit of their chilled delirium
Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
Gerontion (Look, he does hard words too)

Jackknifes upward at the knees
Then straightens out from heel to hip
Sweeney Erect (Seen many times, but not quite like this)

5 comments:

Avus said...

I must confess I have never read him - but your excerpts do intrigue me.
Must do better and give him a try.
Thank you

Sir Hugh said...

Brilliant. That's how I like my intellectualising - a masterly distillation. Like all virtuosoes he makes it look easy.

The last line of The Wasteland has significance for me, but that's another story.

Sir Hugh said...

I meant to add that this instant effect intravenous injection contrasts strongly with my current reading for my Writers and Thinkers literary class: The Need for Roots, Simone Weil - by far the most difficult book I have ever tried to read.

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus: Poetry is all a matter of inclination, never a teaspoonful of cod-liver oil taken prophylactically as way of widening our literary experience. For almost 75 years I have more or less ignored poetry though - as with most journalists - I have known enough bits and pieces to get by. More recently, and obviously far too late, I have taken it up; even imagined I could grind out a verse or two of my own. It harms no one and, rather more important, I've increased the chances of a Damascene Moment. No more than that.

There remains ballet. Which I enjoy when I'm finally sat down watching it. But oh the struggle to reach that point.

Sir Hugh: You have me worried. Have I brought about a Reader's Digest revolution? Have you tried to find out whether there's a crib for the Weil book? Or would that be cheating?

Sir Hugh said...

Yes, I have a crib in mind. I'm sure there will be one out there, but my policy with such things is to read the book first, hopefully forming some personal unbiased opinion, THEN have a look at the crib. In my mind, doing it that way is not cheating.

Apart from difficult to grasp philosophical statements she very frequently uses long sentences often with more than one interrupting qualification separated by commas, so by the time you get to the end of the sentence you have lost the subject that was being made at the beginning.

I reckon that translation must have been fiendishly difficult and the fact that it is a translation generally leads to some compromise.