An excerpt from Lyndall Gordon's 'T.S.
Eliot: An Imperfect Life'
"The cacophony of horns and
motors, ragtime and gramophone, the Jazz Age
and the post-war clamour
seem to drown out the silence between the lines,
which invites the reader to
reciprocal effort. This silence circles repeated hints
of what is not
waste. We hear it in the space that follows the 'DA' of thunder;
and in the space which in
the early printings of the poem preceded the sublime
peace of 'Shantih shantih
shantih'; and in the weight of prophetic voices and
lyric moments: above all in
a memory of 'looking into the heart of light, the
silence' in the presence of
the 'hyacinth girl' with her arms full of flowers in a
garden of fertile love. The
fishermen exposed to the sea are also beyond the
waste; so too the
'inexplicable splendour' of St Magnus the Martyr, the children
chanting in the chapel ('Et
O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!'),
and the tolling bells of
the finale. Their presence suggests that this is a poem
not solely about collapse,
but also about a possibility of regeneration."
Please read pp.188-191 beginning "In October and November 1922 Eliot
The Waste Land ..."
Some corroboration of my reading, if you like.