[log in to unmask] wrote:
>to build on what Mr. Gray tells us:
>This is a poem of the pre-jazz era western world; electricity was more than
>rare and it certainly wasn't used for heating. Cars were also rare (and so you
>are correct in assuming they aren't picking up petrol on the pavement).
>The image you can think of is twofold. If you have seen _Monty Python's The
>Search For the Holy Grail_, you can think of the silly characters who are
>collecting mud (and imagine them gathering peat or wood or something)--
>Or you can think of bent-back peasants picking up coal scraps from the lots
>where the coal trucks (or carriages) parked. When the coal trucks moved,
>precious coal fell out. This is covered in the movie _My Left Foot_ when the poor
>Irish would go into the streets as the truck passed and collect the fallen
>coal they could not afford.
>My guess is that Eliot was thinking of the latter.
Or the variety of papers and bits of wood that tend to accumulate in
vacant lots. The connotation of vacant lots is of disuse and neglect.
The Irish instance need not be applied here; American cities were and
are full of vacant lots.