Poetry: T. S. Eliot - Preludes - Rhapsody on a Windy Night - Morning at the Window - Links

Posted by ricardo marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 21:41




 Preludes

     I

     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.

     II

     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.

     III

     You tossed a blanket from the bed,
     You lay upon your back, and waited;
     You dozed, and watched the night revealing
     The thousand sordid images
     Of which your soul was constituted;
     They flickered against the ceiling.
     And when all the world came back
     And the light crept up between the shutters,
     And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
     You had such a vision of the street
     As the street hardly understands;
     Sitting along the bed's edge, where
     You curled the papers from your hair,
     Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
     In the palms of both soiled hands.

     IV

     His soul stretched tight across the skies
     That fade behind a city block,
     Or trampled by insistent feet
     At four and five and six o'clock;
     And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
     And evening newspapers, and eyes
     Assured of certain certainties,
     The conscience of a blackened street
     Impatient to assume the world.

     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.


 




Rhapsody on a Windy Night

     Twelve o'clock.
     Along the reaches of the street
     Held in a lunar synthesis,
     Whispering lunar incantations
     Disolve the floors of memory
     And all its clear relations,
     Its divisions and precisions,
     Every street lamp that I pass
     Beats like a fatalistic drum,
     And through the spaces of the dark
     Midnight shakes the memory
     As a madman shakes a dead geranium.

     Half-past one,
     The street lamp sputtered,
     The street lamp muttered,
     The street lamp said,
     "Regard that woman
     Who hesitates toward you in the light of the door
     Which opens on her like a grin.
     You see the border of her dress
     Is torn and stained with sand,
     And you see the corner of her eye
     Twists like a crooked pin."

     The memory throws up high and dry
     A crowd of twisted things;
     A twisted branch upon the beach
     Eaten smooth, and polished
     As if the world gave up
     The secret of its skeleton,
     Stiff and white.
     A broken spring in a factory yard,
     Rust that clings to the form that the strength has left
     Hard and curled and ready to snap.

     Half-past two,
     The street-lamp said,
     "Remark the cat which flattens itself in the gutter,
     Slips out its tongue
     And devours a morsel of rancid butter."
     So the hand of the child, automatic,
     Slipped out and pocketed a toy that was running along
     the quay.
     I could see nothing behind that child's eye.
     I have seen eyes in the street
     Trying to peer through lighted shutters,
     And a crab one afternoon in a pool,
     An old crab with barnacles on his back,
     Gripped the end of a stick which I held him.

     Half-past three,
     The lamp sputtered,
     The lamp muttered in the dark.

     The lamp hummed:
     "Regard the moon,
     La lune ne garde aucune rancune,
     She winks a feeble eye,
     She smiles into corners.
     She smooths the hair of the grass.
     The moon has lost her memory.
     A washed-out smallpox cracks her face,
     Her hand twists a paper rose,
     That smells of dust and old Cologne,
     She is alone With all the old nocturnal smells
     That cross and cross across her brain.
     The reminiscence comes
     Of sunless dry geraniums
     And dust in crevices,
     Smells of chestnuts in the streets
     And female smells in shuttered rooms
     And cigarettes in corridors
     And cocktail smells in bars."

     The lamp said,
     "Four o'clock,
     Here is the number on the door.
     Memory!
     You have the key,
     The little lamp spreads a ring on the stair,
     Mount.
     The bed is open; the tooth-brush hangs on the wall,
     Put your shoes at the door, sleep, prepare for life."

     The last twist of the knife.


 


Morning at the Window

     They are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens,
     And along the trampled edges of the street
     I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids
     Sprouting despondently at area gates.
     The brown waves of fog toss up to me
     Twisted faces from the bottom of the street,
     And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts
     An aimless smile that hovers in the air
     And vanishes along the level of the roofs.




Poetry: T. S. Eliot - Preludes - Rhapsody on a Windy Night - Morning at the Window - Links 



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