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Poetry

Tuesday modernism

15

Modernism is now passe, and a poem written in 1941 is not seen as new, exciting, but a excreble output of a man who was not on the progressive side of history and therefore one who should no longer be taught or analyzed.

Dliot is difficult unless one has faith, and then he is hard. But Eliot had faith and learning and a poetic gift. Is better to read him than the critical appraisal of him.

The Dry Salvages I.
I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.
His rhythm was present in the nursery bedroom,
In the rank ailanthus of the April dooryard,
In the smell of grapes on the autumn table,
And the evening circle in the winter gaslight.

T.S. Eliot

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