Tag Archives: T. S. Eliot

Just Skating Around Eliot’s Four Quartets

four-quartetsIt is this madness to explain. . . .
—John Ashbery, The Skaters (I)

The thermometer reads 5 degrees; goldfinches hang from the feeder, juncos peck at seeds on the ground. I wonder at their ability to stay warm in this weather. I know there’s a scientific explanation, but I don’t need one: it’s enough to witness it. Continue reading

Swan(n) Songs

Lotus Flower, Innisfree Garden

Lotus Flower, Innisfree Garden

And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.

—T.S. Eliot, from Burnt Norton

In actual fact this post has little to do with either Swan or Swann. It’s only that we had a lovely walk at Innisfree Garden, and, while I’m offline, it seemed only fair to share a bit of it with you. My intention had been to accompany the photographs with Sibelius’s oh so magnificent Fifth Symphony, but, as happens more often than not, that thought has been (at least partially) derailed. Continue reading

Spring and All

V1 Header P4212919_edited-1Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

—Chaucer, from The Canterbury Tales, The Prologue

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

–T. S. Eliot, from The Waste Land, Part I, The Burial of the Dead

Spring, Part I (Early April, New York City)

In the lobby at 745 Fifth Avenue, there was a fellow playing piano. Moon River, to be exact. What, I wondered, would an alien landing on earth think of that? Inside the building, for which I felt decidedly underdressed in jeans, an old mock turtleneck, and fleece jacket complete with cat hair, were at least three posh galleries. Despite my appearance, I was allowed to enter and roam the halls. Continue reading

And how should I begin?

You will not find me here adding to the analyses of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, which range from prescient (Ezra Pound) to peculiar (any brief search of the internet will call up some of these) to insightful and intelligent (Helen Vendler comes to mind). But Prufrock is one of the earliest “serious” poems to which I was introduced, and it has stayed with me since. Continue reading