“I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me. Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down. Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina. Quando fiam uti chelidon—O swallow swallow. Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih, shantih, shantih”
The Waste Land, T.S Eliot
Thomas Stearns Eliot was born on this day in 1888, in Missouri. Once a subversive outsider, he became the most celebrated poet of the 20th century. Yet, 53 years after his death, he is considered one of the greatest love poets, with a constant sense of love frustration, loss or faux pas. Few poets have dealt so profoundly with the themes of childlessness, of longing, of ageing.
His most well-known work, “The Waste Land,” in 1922, says something which is not new: that life has become barren and sterile, that man is withering and without assurance, that the waters which made the land fruitful will ever rise again… However a closer view does more than illuminate the difficulties; it indicates how each thing falls into place, and to the reader’s surprise shows that the framework and the detail could not otherwise have been communicated.
The poem ends in Sanskrit and its final line, the repeated “shantih” is a formal ending to an Upanishad (=Hinduism ancient Sanskrit text) and is also used as an ending to many mantras (sacred utterances), which means that the poem ends not just with words written on the page… but with a sacred chant.
Reading and exploring his work is not an easy task due to the unorthodox coherence of his poems, which are based rather on the emotional sequence of ideas & images.
However one cannot say that it is not worth reading!
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