Browse Designs
Lundy, Isle of Avalon by Les Still ePublished by Mystic Realms

Lundy, Isle of Avalon

The Wasteland


T. S. Eliot

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Arthurian and related Texts

Write to the Russian embassies around the world and tell them that what they have done is wrong  -

'The Waste Land is a highly influential 433-line modernist poem by T. S. Eliot. It is perhaps the most famous and most written-about long poem of the 20th century, dealing with the decline of civilization and the impossibility of recovering meaning in life. Despite the alleged obscurity of the poem—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its elegiac but intimidating summoning up of a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures—the poem has nonetheless become a familiar touchstone of modern literature. Among its famous phrases are "April is the cruellest month" (its first line); "I will show you fear in a handful of dust"; and "Shantih shantih shantih" (its last line).'  

Browse Designs







The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of 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.

Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee

With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,

10 And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,

And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.

And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,

My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,

And I was frightened. He said, Marie,

Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.

In the mountains, there you feel free.

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.



What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

20 Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only

There is shadow under this red rock,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

30 I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

                Frisch weht der Wind

                Der Heimat zu.

                Mein Irisch Kind,

                Wo weilest du?

'You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;

'They called me the hyacinth girl.'

—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,

Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not

Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither

40 Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

Od' und leer das Meer.



Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,

Had a bad cold, nevertheless

Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,

With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,

Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,

(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)

Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,

50 The lady of situations.

Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,

And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,

Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,

Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find

The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.

I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.

Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,

Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:

One must be so careful these days.



60 Unreal City,

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

I had not thought death had undone so many.

Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,

And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,

To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours

With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.

There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying 'Stetson!

70 'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!

'That corpse you planted last year in your garden,

'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?

'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?

'Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,

'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!

'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'



Browse Designs







THE Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,

Glowed on the marble, where the glass

Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines

80 From which a golden Cupidon peeped out

(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)

Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra

Reflecting light upon the table as

The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,

From satin cases poured in rich profusion;

In vials of ivory and coloured glass

Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,

Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused

And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air

90 That freshened from the window, these ascended

In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,

Flung their smoke into the laquearia,

Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.

Huge sea-wood fed with copper

Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,

In which sad light a carvèd dolphin swam.

Above the antique mantel was displayed

As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene

The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king

100 So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale

Filled all the desert with inviolable voice

And still she cried, and still the world pursues,

'Jug Jug' to dirty ears.

And other withered stumps of time

Were told upon the walls; staring forms

Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.

Footsteps shuffled on the stair.

Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair

Spread out in fiery points

110 Glowed into words, then would be savagely still.



My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.

'Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.

'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?

'I never know what you are thinking. Think.'



I think we are in rats' alley

Where the dead men lost their bones.



'What is that noise?'

                      The wind under the door.

'What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?'

120                       Nothing again nothing.


'You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember


  I remember

Those are pearls that were his eyes.

'Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?'


O O O O that Shakespherian Rag—

It's so elegant

130 So intelligent

'What shall I do now? What shall I do?'

'I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street

'With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?

'What shall we ever do?'

                          The hot water at ten.

And if it rains, a closed car at four.

And we shall play a game of chess,

Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.



When Lil's husband got demobbed, I said—

140 I didn't mince my words, I said to her myself,


Now Albert's coming back, make yourself a bit smart.

He'll want to know what you done with that money he gave you

To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.

You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set,

He said, I swear, I can't bear to look at you.

And no more can't I, I said, and think of poor Albert,

He's been in the army four years, he wants a good time,

And if you don't give it him, there's others will, I said.

150 Oh is there, she said. Something o' that, I said.

Then I'll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look.


If you don't like it you can get on with it, I said.

Others can pick and choose if you can't.

But if Albert makes off, it won't be for lack of telling.

You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.

(And her only thirty-one.)

I can't help it, she said, pulling a long face,

It's them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.

160 (She's had five already, and nearly died of young George.)

The chemist said it would be alright, but I've never been the same.

You are a proper fool, I said.

Well, if Albert won't leave you alone, there it is, I said,

What you get married for if you don't want children?


Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,

And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot—



170 Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight.

Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.

Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.



The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot

THE river's tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf

Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind

Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.

Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,

Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends

Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.

180 And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors;

Departed, have left no addresses.

By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept...

Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,

Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.

But at my back in a cold blast I hear

The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.

A rat crept softly through the vegetation

Dragging its slimy belly on the bank

While I was fishing in the dull canal

190 On a winter evening round behind the gashouse

Musing upon the king my brother's wreck

And on the king my father's death before him.

White bodies naked on the low damp ground

And bones cast in a little low dry garret,

Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year.

But at my back from time to time I hear

The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring

Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.

O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter

200 And on her daughter

They wash their feet in soda water

Et, O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!


Twit twit twit

Jug jug jug jug jug jug

So rudely forc'd.



Unreal City

Under the brown fog of a winter noon

Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant

210 Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants

C.i.f. London: documents at sight,

Asked me in demotic French

To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel

Followed by a weekend at the Metropole.


At the violet hour, when the eyes and back

Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits

Like a taxi throbbing waiting,

I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,

Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see

220 At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives

Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,

The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights

Her stove, and lays out food in tins.

Out of the window perilously spread

Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays,

On the divan are piled (at night her bed)

Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.

I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs

Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—

230 I too awaited the expected guest.

He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,

A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,

One of the low on whom assurance sits

As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.

The time is now propitious, as he guesses,

The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,

Endeavours to engage her in caresses

Which still are unreproved, if undesired.

Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;

240 Exploring hands encounter no defence;

His vanity requires no response,

And makes a welcome of indifference.

(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all

Enacted on this same divan or bed;

I who have sat by Thebes below the wall

And walked among the lowest of the dead.)

Bestows on final patronising kiss,

And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit...

She turns and looks a moment in the glass,

250 Hardly aware of her departed lover;

Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:

'Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over.'

When lovely woman stoops to folly and

Paces about her room again, alone,

She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,

And puts a record on the gramophone.


'This music crept by me upon the waters'

And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.

O City city, I can sometimes hear

260 Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street,

The pleasant whining of a mandoline

And a clatter and a chatter from within

Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls

Of Magnus Martyr hold

Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.


      The river sweats

      Oil and tar

      The barges drift

      With the turning tide

270       Red sails


      To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.

      The barges wash

      Drifting logs

      Down Greenwich reach

      Past the Isle of Dogs.

            Weialala leia

            Wallala leialala


   Elizabeth and Leicester

280       Beating oars

      The stern was formed

      A gilded shell

      Red and gold

      The brisk swell

      Rippled both shores

      Southwest wind

      Carried down stream

      The peal of bells

      White towers

290             Weialala leia

            Wallala leialala


'Trams and dusty trees.

Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew

Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees

Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.'

'My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart

Under my feet. After the event

He wept. He promised "a new start".

I made no comment. What should I resent?'

300 'On Margate Sands.

I can connect

Nothing with nothing.

The broken fingernails of dirty hands.

My people humble people who expect


      la la


To Carthage then I came

Burning burning burning burning

O Lord Thou pluckest me out

310 O Lord Thou pluckest





The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,

Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell

And the profit and loss.

                          A current under sea

Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell

He passed the stages of his age and youth

Entering the whirlpool.

                          Gentile or Jew

320 O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.



The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

AFTER the torchlight red on sweaty faces

After the frosty silence in the gardens

After the agony in stony places

The shouting and the crying

Prison and place and reverberation

Of thunder of spring over distant mountains

He who was living is now dead

We who were living are now dying

330 With a little patience


Here is no water but only rock

Rock and no water and the sandy road

The road winding above among the mountains

Which are mountains of rock without water

If there were water we should stop and drink

Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think

Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand

If there were only water amongst the rock

Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit

340 Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit

There is not even silence in the mountains

But dry sterile thunder without rain

There is not even solitude in the mountains

But red sullen faces sneer and snarl

From doors of mudcracked houses
                                 If there were water

  And no rock

  If there were rock

  And also water

  And water

350   A spring

  A pool among the rock

  If there were the sound of water only

  Not the cicada

  And dry grass singing

  But sound of water over a rock

  Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees

  Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop

  But there is no water


Who is the third who walks always beside you?

360 When I count, there are only you and I together

But when I look ahead up the white road

There is always another one walking beside you

Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded

I do not know whether a man or a woman

—But who is that on the other side of you?


What is that sound high in the air

Murmur of maternal lamentation

Who are those hooded hordes swarming

Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth

370 Ringed by the flat horizon only

What is the city over the mountains

Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air

Falling towers

Jerusalem Athens Alexandria

Vienna London



A woman drew her long black hair out tight

And fiddled whisper music on those strings

And bats with baby faces in the violet light

380 Whistled, and beat their wings

And crawled head downward down a blackened wall

And upside down in air were towers

Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours

And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.


In this decayed hole among the mountains

In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing

Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel

There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.

It has no windows, and the door swings,

390 Dry bones can harm no one.

Only a cock stood on the rooftree

Co co rico co co rico

In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust

Bringing rain


Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves

Waited for rain, while the black clouds

Gathered far distant, over Himavant.

The jungle crouched, humped in silence.

Then spoke the thunder

400 D A

Datta: what have we given?

My friend, blood shaking my heart

The awful daring of a moment's surrender

Which an age of prudence can never retract

By this, and this only, we have existed

Which is not to be found in our obituaries

Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider

Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor

In our empty rooms

410 D A

Dayadhvam: I have heard the key

Turn in the door once and turn once only

We think of the key, each in his prison

Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison

Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours

Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus


Damyata: The boat responded

Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar

420 The sea was calm, your heart would have responded

Gaily, when invited, beating obedient

To controlling hands


                      I sat upon the shore

Fishing, with the arid plain behind me

Shall I at least set my lands in order?


London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down


Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina

Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow

Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie

430 These fragments I have shored against my ruins

Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.


Shantih shantih shantih

Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem were suggested by Miss Jessie L. Weston's book on the Grail legend: From Ritual to Romance (Macmillan). Indeed, so deeply am I indebted, Miss Weston's book will elucidate the difficulties of the poem much better than my notes can do; and I recommend it (apart from the great interest of the book itself) to any who think such elucidation of the poem worth the trouble. To another work of anthropology I am indebted in general, one which has influenced our generation profoundly; I mean The Golden Bough; I have used especially the two volumes Adonis, Attis, Osiris. Anyone who is acquainted with these works will immediately recognize in the poem certain references to vegetation ceremonies.  T. S. Eliot


related pages

The Wasteland of Grail Legend

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot

Browse Designs
Rockabilly Rules

Free Tarot Readings by Alison Day

Mystic Realms has linked up with Lotus Tarot, probably the best Tarot Reading site on the internet today.

click here for a tarot reading for free at lotus tarot


The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot

Browse Designs



Join the biggest crew ever to save the whales

Lundy, Isle of Avalon Site Design & Contents ©Les Still 1998-2013 Motorpsycho Realms   Contact