We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death's dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind's singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer In death's dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer --
Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man's hand Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death's twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five o'clock in the morning.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is Life is For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
That was western man after the trenches and mustard gas of the Great War. I daresay its western man again, hollowed out by materialism and a crass popular culture. I think we need to heed the prophet Hosea's words."Oh Israel, you've destroyed yourself, but in me is your help"
I think that last "not a bang but a whimper" line concluded "On the Beach", an SF novel that dealt with the aftermath of nuclear war. (although Pat Frank's "Alas Babylon" and "Level 7" novels also tickle my mind, I still think it was the beach novel that had it.) I read some of T.S. Elliot's poetry way back when in H.S. because of that reference, thinking it was a cool thing to do... but found it boring since it was not science fiction. (It could also have been the time in English trying to struggle through such classic literature designed to bore a modern student to death. "Adam Bede", "Wuthering Heights", "Scarlet Letter". All classics. All deathly dull to me. It could also have been jealousy since we could not afford them. I noticed my more well off classmates bought the Cliff's notes to get through those novels. Nope, just dull.)
Loved Eliot when I was in college and recently found myself rereading his works. When I was in college I loved figuring out his allusions--it was a cognitive activity for me then. Now, however, his works resonated in my heart/soul. Why the difference? This poem answers the question: Obama and his ilk are hollow men, stuffed with ideology. Heroic America doesn't suddenly crash because it is defeated by an enemy force. Nothing grand or tragic like that. No, it fades into irrelevancy because it no longer is economically viable. (I'm sickened by the thought.)
In the days of literate musicians, the saxophonist Paul Desmond was purportedly once asked by a friend what ever happened to all the lubricious young fashion-model types he had squired about as a young man.
Desmond replied "Chicks like that always end up with some cat that owns a factory. That's the way it always ends, not with a whim but a banker."