Like T.S. Eliot

I cannot write

like T.S. Eliot,

who bared the landscape

of the human frail and brittle soul,

and saw full clear inside

the tempest of history

and its terrible human toll.


I can only write from

my everyday muddied

and limited thoughts,

and explore my loves

and my layers of fear

that find their form

and make their way to

screen and page,

and there I read dissatisfied

with the clump of words

that I have made.


I cannot go inside

his caves of knowing

and his classical and

literary connect

to those things past

that he thought

on his way to being

the zenith of his age;

and I cannot be

the critic who

defined the mood

and texture of his times

and gave it form and gravity

in his landmark poem,

“The Wasteland”.


Nor can I be privy to

the troubled peculiar head

of Prufrock and see inside

the empty human shell

of modern humankind,

or visit his Hippopotamus

and grasp the refined

sardonic tale he told.


But I can, like he,

still walk through streets alive

and feel the sensuous

“Rhapsody on a Windy Night”,

and grasp the presence of a place,

and be there in a space

of the earth and of the mind,

and there visit the mythical lady

“who has a bowl of lilacs in her room”;

or look out across a misty street

and see the “twisted faces”

as an art on its feet.


I cannot be like T.S. Eliot,

and spawn thoughts profound

and works afresh

beyond the grave;

for I can only be this day

the greyish least,

obscure and unknown,

in the grand line of

poets old and poets new

whose words still trouble

and grace our minds,

and who whisper to poets

not yet known

to heed the call and

take some words

and create these

universal thoughts anew.