April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
At 18 T S Eliot rocked my world.
I obsessed over The Waste Land, like the sea on the sailor, picking apart it’s bones; wringing every morsel of meaning from its limbic resonance.
It hit me hard.
The fecundity of the language alongside its barren themes. To me it was a glimpse into the future; all hope and regret,
The limitless possibilities of a creative life limited by its very nature; mortality.
The artist striving all their life for the one image that sums it up, says it all, forever almost there. All promise until death.
Always, ultimately, doomed to failure; usurped by life and the next big thing.
Phlebas [insert your name here] the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea 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.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
Like Van Gogh in his Wheatfield, undone by what he had done [apparently].
After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience
Wheat Field with Crows, Van Gogh, July 1890, Van Gogh Museum
*previous blog post 25/2/16