Indeed! The mystic freedom the poet associates with the mountains is something not to be had in the waste land in which he finds himself. For "Here is no water but only rock . . ." The mountain imagery in TWL is interesting in this regard. It provides a fascinating
study in contrast:
"In the mountains, there you feel free."
"Only / There is shadow under this red rock / (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), / And I will show you something different"
"Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks, / The lady of situations."
"After the frosty silence in the gardens / After the agony in stony places / . . . and reverberation / Of thunder of spring over distant mountains / He who was living is now dead"
"Here is no water but only rock . . . " (lines 331-358)
"But when I look ahead up the white road / There is always another one walking beside you"
"What is that sound high in the air . . . / Murmur of maternal lamentation . . . / What is the city over the mountains . . . / Falling towers / Jerusalem Athens Alexandria / Vienna London / Unreal"
"In this decayed hole among the mountains . . . / There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home . . . / Only a cock stood on the rooftree / Co co rico co co rico . . . / Then a damp gust Bringing rain"
"Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves / Waited for rain, while the black clouds / Gathered far distant, over Himavant"
Interestingly, there is a pattern to these images. Confined to the opening and the concluding sections of the poem, they figure in alternation in terms of their signification, except the last image of Himavant which follows close upon the previous image from the Chapel Perilous only to reinforce it.
--- On Fri, 4/3/09, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Reminiscent of "What the Thunder Said."
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 1:09 AM
Subject: Re: In the mountains (was: Gerontion)
There is an ironic, mystical dimension to the line "In the mountains, there you feel free" -- quite at variance with what it would mean to Marie -- which could not have been lost upon the poet. In the past, saints and sages often retired to the mountains/forests in search of spiritual salvation.
In 'Ash-Wednesday', the poet speaks of a different life "between the rocks":
Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.
This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks