After T.S. Eliot

Weaving sunlight in one’s hair

Is not easy, uncle Thomas,

As you should have known best of all,

As I had to learn overall.

 

The days are grey and my energy saps

Sunlight I can no longer produce

And it’s all for nothing, all for no good.

I wish you had told me before.

 

And to tell me you tried, I grant you that,

My ears inattentive, or biased, or sad.

It’s always the same, we are ready too late

When the message arrives we’re already wise.

 

The slug I squished, the bird I ignored,

The cubs I let go by turning my back,

These are the creatures demanding our audience,

Not us – our perception is skewed.

 

Skewed by daydreaming of possible worlds

Where life is familiar and eery or out of all sense.

A bad poem. A failed day.

Tomorrow you’ll try again.

 

There is no energy, no vision in my words

The energy was sapped, before your call.

I wish it’d come before, but even then,

You know I’d have been dumb, numb, dull.

 

Uncle Thomas, remember the garden

Where you sowed roses for your wife?

Remember the statue towering above you,

Casting a shadow you’d always resent?

 

I know we can no longer return to that garden,

All the things you made are for one visit only,

Yet I keep you in my mind, wherever I feel lonely

And it lifts me up, although it traps me elsewhere.

 

Uncle Thomas, the garden is closed now,

They put a toll at the entrance and no one would pay.

The roses you planted are of no use now,

I hope your wife saw them even just once.

 

It was your rose garden, and yours only,

And yet we were all invited to peek in,

Was it for pride that you stirred up our jealousy?

We have no garden, no roses, no mate.

◄ Dead of night

Late out of bed ►

Comments

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Adam Whitworth

Mon 25th Jan 2016 03:25

Nice writing

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Celia

Sat 19th Dec 2015 10:05

I can see why reading Eliot would have that effect. The reading experience is never short of intense, metaphysical, uplifting. I used to recite Eliot to myself when I was a teenager as a sort of protective spell from a world to which I felt ill adapted, and as a reminder of greater meaning in it, and it worked. Here I was inspired by two of my favourites, La Figlia che Piange and A Dedication to my Wife.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Mon 14th Dec 2015 16:49

I once spent a night alone in my sister's very pleasant but very empty home. When she was called away that evening I had expected her to leave the big Lab bitch with me, an animal beloved, but my sister took her also. I was actually shocked. I had so anticipated the dog's warm companionship that I felt almost bereft... lonely ... and a teensy bit apprehensive. Of course, I knew the house layout, but not all the night sounds, inside and outdoors, with no familiarity to discern what were acceptable noises and what were not.

I told myself I was an idiot, dug a volume of T.S. Eliot's poetry out of my suitcase and began to read, aloud, just to myself. For hours. I was so absorbed, speaking it with fluency, that I laughed outright and even wept. There was beauty of words and sound lifting off the pages right into my mind and heart. It was a very unusual experience. I've not shared this with anyone before: I felt like a dork. But I sure learned a lot.

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