Nancy: What the author makes of it, in this case, is very much what
Hieronymo did: he creates a passage of many languages full of images of
chaos and destroyed cities.
The "Shantih" is deeply ambiguous; in its post WWI context it is not simply
or clearly about the peace you see as its "own context" either. So by
assuming and continually asserting that meaning you are apparently missing
your own point.
Here's the problem. The writers you are responding to are not, actually,
interested in Eliot, or his poem. Nor, really, are they interested in poetry
of any sort. An interest in poetry is incompatible with twisting any poem
into support of some individual's "world view," and that is what they are
doing with TWL. It is not, for them, a poem, but a mirror in which they can
see reflected their merely individual biases & intellectual peculiarities.
And it follows from this that they have no interest in sharing the poem with
others: An interest in sharing one's perspective on a poem requires that one
seeks common ground: common ground, of course, is not the same as agreement
but rather understanding of what it is they agree or disagree on.
For example. I suspect that if you and I were to carry on a long discussion
of the functioning of "Shantih" in the poem we would eventually define some
disagreements, but we would understand (i.e., share) a _framework_ that
focused the disagreement.
As far as I can tell, that sort of discussion is not possible with Peter or
P.S. It has been many years since I read much commentary on Eliot, but I
vaguely recall that a number of critics in the '40s or '50s labored to
'prove' that Eliot meant something narrow and 'technical' by "fabbro," that
is, that he wasn't really saying that Pound was a good poet.