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T.S. Eliot

Portrait
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.
T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men"

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, 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;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland"

Despite having to answer for Cats, Thomas Stearns Eliot remains one of the greatest poets of our century. Breaking with the post-Romantics of his day, he birthed Modernism by expressing his dissatisfaction with Modernity - namely, the inability of reason to satisfyingly broach matters of emotion. Many of his best poems reflect the tension between heart and mind in the modern era. Witness the beginning of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: "Let us go then, you and I,/ When the evening is spread out against the sky/Like a patient etherised upon a table;" Eliot's poems are masterful, evocative, and frequently very very creepy.

"Between the idea and the reality falls the Shadow."

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