She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers. 20
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon’s repose.
I would meet you
upon this honestly.
I that was near your heart was removed therefrom 55
To lose beauty in terror, terror in inquisition.
I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it
Since what is kept must be adulterated?
I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:
How should I use it for your closer contact?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 40
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
At the hour when we
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
In fine, love and a progression on love, culminating in a note of union
of the human and the divine love:
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
We must also keep in mind Eliot's later description of the poem as “the relief of a personal and wholly insignificant grouse against life … just a piece of rhythmical grumbling." It only confirms that the poem was essentially a lament on the loss of love.
PS - fructify life and redeem it in terms of divine love
Forgive my rushing in but I just wished to say that I'd concur with Tom.
Just a word, vis-a-vis Tom's observations, about Dante's Inferno that keeps coming to my mind vis-a-vis TWL. Hell to Dante was, in effect, the absence of 'love' with all its attributes
including those Eliot lists in What the
Thunder Said: Datta (Surrender in love), Dayadhvam (the opposite of pride/ego), and Damyata (Control). Eliot's wasteland is a waste essentially because it is devoid of love, and it is this alone (i.e. love) by which we //fructify life//.