Friday, June 03, 2005

Poetry - Various

Sparked by a question on University Challenge the other week, I have just skimmed 'The Hollow Men' by TS. Eliot (1925), which I know I must have read before, it being in the TS Eliot collected poems. That skimming, along with the final lines of 'This is how the world ends, Not with a bang but with a whimper' gave me the immediate impression that this was indeed a view of Mass Destruction before the means to carry it out existed. I have also just whistled through 'The Wasteland' again which has the same themes in a less focused form. All this reminds me of the Machine Gun chatter in the Mars section of 'The Planets'. Holst had some window on the future with that - see the trenches and the gas that wont exist for years.

And so on to Prufrock as well. The beginning of that gives me images of close-ups on bits of winter urban landscape, in the rain, or ice; no people, just things in the cold and fog. I of course miss the true meaning of this poem, despite being the right age to appreciate its longing. The world is just too different a place. Why should I worry about Trenches and Gas? I've never had to experience them and never will. If this world ends before I do, then it will be with a Bang and a bang so quick as to not register with me or anyone. Maybe mind will be separated from body, flying on through the blackness of space at speeds high enough to make the Universe small through relativity. We will become that single photon than is all the photons we ever see. Sometimes oblivion like this would be welcome, just to end the jumping heart, the anxious dark and the pain. Philip Larkin said 'no one actually starves' and that is right in this country but living a downsized life takes confidence.

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