Eliot’s Poetry - Nerves in Patterns 


Most of Eliot’s poetry is in the nature of introspection, a dialogue with his own self, “a thousand small deliberations,” “These matters that with myself I too much discuss / Too much explain.”  PRUFROCK, GERONTION, THE WASTE LAND, HOLLOW MEN, ASH-WEDNESDAY, FOUR QUARTETS — introspective explorations, one and all. 

Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

Do I dare
Disturb the universe? 

I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile...

I grow old ... I grow old ...

-         -         - 

I would meet you upon this honestly. 
I that was near your heart was removed therefrom 
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? 

These with a thousand small deliberations 
Protract the profit of their chilled delirium, 
Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled, 
With pungent sauces, multiply variety 
In a wilderness of mirrors.  What will the spider do 
Suspend its operations, will the weevil 
Delay?  De Bailhache, Fresca, Mrs. Cammel, whirled 
Beyond the circuit of the shuddering Bear 
In fractured atoms. 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 sleepy corner. 

-         -         - 

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many. 

-         -         -

Ain’t it so? 
CR