death by water
"Defunctive music under sea" -- "Tra-la-la-la-la-la-laire"
"goats and monkeys, with such hair too!" --
a tale of sordid commerce mating with unbridled lust.
"Her shuttered barge / Burned on the water all the day."
If "this or such" was Bleistein's way, then "this or such" was Eugenides' way too,
the Smyrna merchant, the "one-eyed" merchant (literally or metaphorically),
spreading the homosexual cult of sterility instead of the mystical cult of fertility:
"Mr Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant
Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants
C. i. f. London: documents at sight,
Asked me in demotic French
To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel
Followed by a week-end at the Metropole."
Hence the admonishment, addressed equally to both the Gentile and the Jew:
"Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you."
For the consequences to both shall be the same. To quote from 'Gerontion',
"Gull against the wind, in the windy straits
Of Belle Isle, or running on the Horn,
White feathers in the snow, the Gulf claims,
And an old man driven by the Trades
To a a sleepy corner."
-- the "sleepy corner", the grave -- death equals all.
//What is left, in each case, is a symbol -- "A symbol perfected in death":
"A lustreless protrusive eye" staring from the grave, "from the protozoic slime",
at "a perspective of Canaletto".// As the poet remarks in ''Little Gidding':
"These men, and those who opposed them
And those whom they opposed
Accept the constitution of silence
And are folded in a single party."
Hence the chorus-like refrain (cf. 'Dans le Restaurant') :
"Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool."