Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wish I'd written that #1

My post on Oge.e.ku (September 8) got me reading some of my favorite poems again. There is one memorable verse that offers such vivid imagery you can see, hear and smell the story it tells.

I’m posting a shortened version of it here as the first in my “Wish I’d written that” series, hoping that you will savor the grit and texture of it, and appreciate how a snapshot of everyday urban life can be so dramatically reflected.

by T. S. Eliot

The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.

The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

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