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My Visit with T.S.Eliot





Let us go then, you and I,
Eliot said, and so we went,
After the cups, the marmalade, and tea,
Beyond the porcelain, beyond the talk of you and me,
When the evening was spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;
We went, we went through certain half-deserted streets.
We went to the bright retreats that muttered endlessly.

Some overwhelming question always had to ask,
Though it didn’t have to ask, “What is it?”
We went along and made our visit.

And at the first turning of the second stair
We turned and saw below, not far from the rose garden,
A familiar shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapor in the fetid air
Struggling with the business fool of the stairs who ascends
The deceitful steps of hope and despair.

At the second turning of the second stair,
We left them twisting, turning below;
At the third turning of the third stair
We finally went past all of the melodious distraction,
Music of the flute, stops and steps
Of the mind over the third stair,
Fading, fading; wisdom beyond hope and despair
Climbing and being the third stair.

We were the stairs,
We were the shapes and distractions,
And at 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.”
My visit with Tom in the rose garden never came to an end.



Jumping Spider in the rose garden, near the door we never opened. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2019


21 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I hope the trip to the doctor went well. Of course you know I love the Eliot. You probably also know that two of these lines were referenced in the lyrics of one of the songs from Cats:
    “The street-lamp sputtered,
    The street-lamp muttered…”
    In the song, they’re used like this:
    “Every streetlamp seems to beat
    A fatalistic warning
    Someone mutters and the street lamp gutters
    And soon
    It will be morning.”

    It’s wonderful poetry and wonderful music, and I like what you did with it.


    • I wasn’t familiar with the lyrics from the songs from Cats, never having heard them. In the past, i used to enjoy the deep lyrics of the old Jethro Tull albums, Rush, and some of John Lennon’s works.
      Eliot will always remain a favorite of mine (with all of his great depth). πŸ™‚


  2. That’s a beautiful poem Tom and the rose is stunning – I like that jumping spider nestled between the pink petals. Oh what I wouldn’t give to see roses blooming out in the yard now – I’ll even take the jumping spider and you know how I feel about spiders of any size.


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