Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Waste Land

T.S. Elliot used to work at Lloyds Bank.  It is said that he suffered a nervous breakdown whilst working there and took a leave of absence to write The Waste Land.  The impact of the first world war was imbedded in society and the shift in the forms of poetry and painting are reflective of a change of psyche.  Much has been made of the fragmentation and incoherence of The Waste Land, but, to a modern reader used to a bit of a mash-up, it seems perfectly formed.

And perfect for a new read, through the lense of the financial crisis.  I do wonder myself if April will be the cruellest month....

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out or the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

Then off he went, out of the breeding and death metaphors to escape and skip happily into nostalgia, avoidance and escapism for the rest of the paragraph. Continuing on (here if you'd like) he goes on, off and onward with various tangents of universal despair, myth and bad sex.

Any aspiring ex-banker poets out there?

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