I wrote to Diana (in part and on Fri, 3 Aug 2007):
> Somewhere in this long thread I believe you asked
> something like "Why fear death by water?"
Tom Gray quoted this in a reply and added (on Fri, 3 Aug 2007):
> Doesn't Eliot provide and answer to that question?
> "Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you"
I'm reading your reply as Eliot setting up the comparison "Phlebas
died and you will too." While certainly true, I don't see that as a
reason to fear death. Diana and CR were discussing the redemptive
quality of Phlebas' drowning. I'm not going to go that far myself yet,
but it doesn't appear to be a death to be feared. Nor did the
drowning of the fishermen in the draft of the poem. Nor the allusions
to The Tempest scattered within the poem (Those are potatoes that were
eyes.) Other Eliot poems that have death by water also don't seem to
me to be fearful of a death by water.