Mock serious indeed. Remember the poem on Webster,
the skull beneath the skin, or whatever (I get that
stuff all mixed up in my mind). You've hit it just right.
Those who take the lines seriously are indanger of mockery.

What kind of soil SHOULD one use for planting corpses, anyway?
How does one plant a corpse? Has Eliot's corpus been smothered
in all the muck that's been piled on it? The point is critical.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: cr mittal 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 11:29 AM
  Subject: Re: The Yoruba and TSE

  "the Dog" in TWL

  There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying 'Stetson!
  'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
  'That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
  'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
  'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
  'Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
  'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!

  I've always been struck by the mock-serious nature of this passage. 
  At surface a jolly dig at Stetson's act of guilt/sin, its gravity resounds
  as a leitmotif in TWL -- violation of the sanctity of sex -- the fires of 
  lust raging at the heart of a human wasteland.

  "That corpse you planted last year in your garden" has its sequel in

  White bodies naked on the low damp ground
  And bones cast in a little low dry garret,
  Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year. 
  One can imagine a mischievous smile on the face of the speaker
  who has knowledge of Stetson's act of debauchery and crime.
  One is reminded of 'Burbank' where "The boatman smiles" even as 
  Princess Volupine alights the boat to entertain Sir Ferdinand Klein.

  As for

  'Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,  
  'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!

  "the Dog" (with a capital D) could easily be an allegorical representation 
  of Conscience -- otherwise "friend to men", but not so in these matters ;) 

  The graver aspect, however, of setting aside the voice of Conscience/Dog
  is metaphorically brought to the fore when, "Past the Isle of Dogs"
  -- divested of moral scruples  --  humans are reduced to 
  no better than drifting barges and logs of wood:

  The barges drift
  With the turning tide
  Red sails
  To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.
  The barges wash
  Drifting logs
  Down Greenwich reach
  Past the Isle of Dogs.
      Weialala leia
      Wallala leialala

  Well, just a reading of sorts :)



  Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
    What is so chilling in Eliot's use of the lines is that there is menace, but no betrayal, in a wolf's, a foe's, digging up buried men, but that a dog, a friend,
    would is horrifying.

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