You, T.S. Eliot

Ronald William Fordham Searle: Sick and Dying: Cholera, Tarso Camp, 15 September 1943, Two Months After Illness. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/24373

Note: Words in bold provide passageways to complete texts alluded to in the poem, which was also influenced by the John Prine song “Hello, in There.” By clicking on the audio file at the very bottom of the post, you can listen to the song in its entirety. 

a reading of the poem

You, TS Eliot[1]

Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season.

TS Eliot, “Gerontion

He died alone in a hospice house
Hallucinating for a day and a half,
Surrounded by a swirl of phantoms,
A misremembrance of things past.

His funeral, too, was poorly attended,
Empty pews here and there,
The eulogy, merely perfunctory.
No one shed a single tear.

Too long a life ¬– calamitous.
No fun being one-hundred-and-one,
Outliving every single peer,
His wife, his daughter, and his son.


[1] The title echoes Archibald MacLeish’s “You, Andrew Marvell,” a very different type of meditation on death. 

“Hello in There” John Prine

From Decadence to the Muni in Three Short Steps

man-ray-meets-wes

 

 

 

Think at last

We have not reached conclusion, when I

Stiffen in a rented house

TS Eliot, “Gerontion”

 

 

When I was young, I courted decadence:

a braless lover in her diaphanous blouse,

my amygdala aglow like phosphoresce,

my rented garret drafty in that crumbling Victorian house.

 

However, in middle age, decadence became passé,

radiators were ditched for central heat,

Man Ray lost out to Andrew Wyeth, and Sunday buffets

replaced sleeping the Sabbath away until three.

 

Now I am old, our children grown,

and though retirement offers a chance to pivot,

I must admit my wild seeds have been sown

as I stiffly stoop and replace my divot.