Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Why do you assume the poem has "a narrator"? That itself is a very
>contested claim. And why, unless it is a lyric, would the narrator's
>desire be the same as Eliot's?
Agreed there, Nancy.
> And in what sense is the wetness on the Hyacinth girl's hair
>either lust or spiritual life since it seems quite clearly to many
>readers an image of young and innocent desire?
The water here represents passion -- pure, undefiled -- what
St. Augustine (I'd quoted) refers to as something he defiled :
"I defiled the very source of friendship by the filth of concupiscence,
and its clear waters I befouled with the lust of hell ....
BTW I had said water as a metaphor for emotional and
spiritual life,
it is clear and regenerative. Earlier I had
written of the yearning in the poem for the life-giving waters
of "spirtuality and love".

>I ask these questions because I am trying to suggest that the poem is
>not a set of clues to a puzzle and it is not a set of limited categories
>like "lust" vs. "spirit."
But one cannot close one's eyes to what is so obvious in the text --
I have never said a word without quoting to substantiate my point
from the text -- and always in relation to the poem as a whole.
>Nor is it clearly spoken by one narrator--or if it is, by whom?
>Some say Eliot; some say Tiresias; some say a persona in the role
>of questor.

>These isolated and disparate speculations need some context and
> overall framework to provide a reading. I respond to you in this case only
>because this is the message that turned up; the response is to a whole
>line of commentary.
This point is already addressed above.

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