Ever heard of baptism?
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Diana Manister 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 10:48 AM
  Subject: Water in TWL

  Dear CR: Eliot seems to place great credence in Sosostris' prediction about death by water, to wit:

  "I.   The Burial of the Dead

   Here, said she, 
  Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor

  ...Fear death by water...."

  In Part IV, the prediction has fulfilled itself:

  "IV. Death by Water

  Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,  
  Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
  And the profit and loss.
           A current under sea
  Picked his bones in whispers.  As he rose and fell
  He passes the stages of his age and youth
  Entering the whirlpool."

  Something that has always perplexed me is the dual symbolism of water in the poem. Soon after the drowning of Phlebas the narrator years for water. Taken by itself, the latter passages are understandable as a yearning for more "juice" in a life that has become dry and sterile. However, seen against the dreadful prediction, it acquires dark overtones, as if the narrator were longing for death by water.

  "           If there were water
  And no rock
  If there were rock
  And also water
  And water  
  A spring
  A pool among the rock
  If there were the sound of water only
  Not the cicada
  And dry grass singing
  But sound of water over a rock
  Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
  Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop 
  But there is no water"

  I would be most appreciative of any comments on the meaning of water in the poem. Diana



    From:  Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
    Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
    To:  [log in to unmask]
    Subject:  Re: Rewrite The Waste Land - Part IV
    Date:  Fri, 27 Jul 2007 10:27:12 -0700

    I suppose Eliot wouldn't be carried away by mere predictions !


    Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
      Nonetheless, Sosostris is right in at least one of her readings! Diana               

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