Monday, August 26, 2013

Carefully caught regrets

Next to familiarizing oneself with a poet's style, the best part about reading a poetry collection is culling favourites. 'The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock' won me over immediately, as did the 4 Quartets (especially Dry Salvages). As seen in The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot certainly has a penchant for using 'death' imagery and writing about dry and barren things. He also explores the idea of the "shared agony" of life and death (I definitely prefer his commentaries to Jose Saramango's), and the passage of time. I will never forget how he refers to life as the "dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying."

I have to resist the urge to copy/paste massive chunks of quotes in.
"It seems, as one becomes older,
That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence—
Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy
Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution,
Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past."
^my favourite passage from The Dry Salvages. What an astounding Quartet - in a matter of lines TS Eliot reflects upon time, the human perception of its passing and happinness.
The voice returns like the insistent out-of-tune
Of a broken violin on an August afternoon:
^I'm so accustomed to out of tune violins in August.
And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
And smiles at situations which it cannot see.
^ from The Portrait of a Lady, one of the most memorable poems from this collection.