Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Poet: TS Eliot, “The Hollow Men”

“The Hollow Men”
by TS Eliot

“We are the hollow men.
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together,
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass,
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar.

Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us - if at all - not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men,
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom...
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column.
There, is a tree swinging,
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom.
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises,
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field,
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer -
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom.


This is the dead land.
This is cactus land.
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom,
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
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 valley,
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms.
In this last of meeting places
We grope together,
And avoid speech,
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star,
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom,
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality,
Between the motion
And the act,
Falls the Shadow.

                                                                For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation,
Between the emotion
And the response,
Falls the Shadow.

                                                    Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm,
Between the potency
And the existence,
Between the essence
And the descent,
Falls the Shadow.

                                                              For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is...
Life is...
For Thine is the...

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
   Not with a bang but a whimper.”

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