I. Chaucer Chopped
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
and bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour…
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire,
Dull roots with spring rain.
II. In which we shard
What are the roots that clutch,
what branches grow
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
III. A New Creation
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply…
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul.
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden
(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;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
IV. A Thousand Times (Undone) Before His Death
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
It was hot then. And cars in their tens of thousands sprayed dust onto sweating bodies. And the dust was a mixture: dried spit, horse shit, tiny crumbs of car tyre, pieces of bike and bejak tyres and maybe even the powdered tyres of my own bike, which only yesterday sped along the very streets I passed through now. And this mixed dust stuck to my sweat and covered my body like glue. This made me curse a little – just a little – in my heart.
VI. Falling Towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
VII. Drowned World [Consider Phlebas]
Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea 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
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
VIII. He promised a ‘new start.’ I made no comment.
don’t, dear children, be alarmed;
Augustus Gloop will not be harmed,
Although, of course, we must admit
He will be altered quite a bit.
The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
And on her daughter
They wash their feet in soda water
IX. Me, Myself and I am
Who is the third who walks always beside you?
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?
X. DIT DIT DIT
Then spoke the thunder
DA [Ed: Dada]
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
Damyata: The boat responded
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
To controlling hands
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.