A thought: The "boat imagery" in "The Waste Land" is certainly varied. One thing that could tie it all together is the concept that we are all, in our transient voyages, attempting to navigate the endless waters of time/existence in vessels of our own design symbolizing our own personal philosophies, convictions, prejudices, passions, lusts, myths, and circumstances, -- vessels which keep us from sinking, however flimsy they might be. "Although the Logos is common to all, We live as if by our own wisdom"  (Heraclitus).
       Contrast this with the entirely different boat/ship imagery in "The Dry Salvages" II and III where the imagery used by the "older" post-conversion T. S. Eliot is focused upon the path toward the death of the Self and spiritual rebirth.   From DS III:
"'...O voyagers, O seamen,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination.'
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle.
Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers."   DS III
 On this subject, the words of Longfellow come to mind:
"Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing;
 Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
 So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
 Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence."  The Theologian's Tale, Elizabeth, IV.
In a message dated 7/29/2007 10:53:08 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, [log in to unmask] writes:
Dear Listers,
It should be interesting as well to take note of the boat imagery
in TWL.  There is a definite pattern to it.
Part I -- the sailor's song and its implications
             (it prefaces the Hyacinth girl passage) :
Frisch weht der Wind                
Der heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,                     
Wo weilest du?
Part II -- It's prefaced with an allusion to Cleopatra's ceremonial barge
             (The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
                Burn'd on the water.)
              and her first meeting with Antony.
Part III -- Here, The barges drift / With the turning tide
                 and The barges wash / Drifting logs
              Elizabeth and Leicester / Boating oars...
              Carried down stream
              'By Richmond I raised my knees
              Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.'
Part IV --  O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
                Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
Part V -- The boat responded
              Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
              The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
              Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
              To controlling hands.
There also appears to be a definite equation between the boat(s)
and the human heart with its passions of love/lust.

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