Tuesday, May 6, 2014

For POETS UNITED ~ The Living Dead ~ Honoring Our Poetic Ancestors ~ T S Eliot ~ So We Should Have Known'

Inspired by Poets United- Rosemary's tribute to 
A E Housman
Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and "one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.
Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry."

Some Lines Inspired by 'The Wasteland'

So we should have known

April is the cruellest month or is it ?
bare branches sprouting tiny greens
mixing sorrow of defeat with defiance,
Spring rain drizzles consistently
and snow suddenly surprised us
We stopped in Mohali
went on in half daylight

So we should have known

Emperors of ice creams, not
 long ago when I was a child
crossed barbed wires
carried across borders
frightened, slept in a camp
for two days and two nights
And so I was told and so we knew

wonder how Mother felt 
and held us ? tight' - then on we came
to the pine filled  Northern Hills
and I knew not, was I taking refuge?
was it a shelter? 
or a home in a new land?
So we should have known

What was left in enemy's hand
where are the roots 
 that make a family?
out of masses murdered
who survived or committed suicide?

I cannot say or even guess
For I have seen only images-
heard only broken low voices
which lost half the thought
in trying not to remember

heaps of still breathing bodies
cut or slayed,blood splattered
trains,roads and fields-
Death! Deaths! Dying for a cause
sacrifice yet not supreme-why?

and so we should have known
why we laughed and sang
then why we cried and cry
silently again. in pain-
we suffered in the remains
and the stories continued
told and retold 
as lands were sold
and rivers ran dry

who will care? who cares?
walking shadows, listless hordes
seeking failing drifting falling
Stop ' Look' Beware'
the crown on the statue'
of studded freedom
and we were so innocent
playing games, jumping ropes
reading white and blue and
all that was said in red

and so we should have known
slavery is not dead
which song is stilled
which bird is killed
where is the eagle perched?
how high it flies and has flown
only the discerning eye may see
only the desiring heart may feel
so touch not the forbidden
but seek the Unseen The Hidden

Come under the shadow of the rock
you will find flowers secretly growing
receiving blessed showers
Turn back to the valley
as memories stir, dawn breaks
snowy peaks reveal freedom awaits
in the new Light'

and so we should have known
so we should know...
Providence has more...


  1. April always turns up in my poems as a sad, sad month... This poem is dark and rich and bitter-sweet. So many melancholy memories, recalled.

  2. Oh, just came across this. How delightful to have been a part of your inspiration for this one. :)

    1. Thank you Mary -I really enjoyed writing this ...and there is more...I studies many poets (English & American) as part of the MA Literature Course. TS Eliot is one of the favorites.