These fragments I have shored against my ruins Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih —The Wasteland, T. S. Eliot Rubble of war hangs from wilted rebar, a child’s trainer swinging from broken branches, shredded bits of clothing flagged by the wind, broken rock, handfuls of dust—alarming Tarot cards overturned in Gaza, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Myanmar, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Syria, Chechnya, Crimea, now all of Ukraine invaded. War, empty and desolate as the sea, wave upon wave of never-ending beachheads— a martial canon of cannons, missiles, bombs, machine- -gun repetition rat-a-tat-tats punctuating a thumping bass rhythm from dawn to dusk and all night long. In a quiet moment ghostly shadows slide out from shelters, from behind brick and debris of smoking burial mounds. They shuffle through the desolation, remains of their proud homeland, survivors moving to the defensive periphery for a final stand—neither living nor dead, they had sought spring hyacinths, not hellish fires. A patient enemy, death always triumphs, the king of entropy—slimy-bellied rats, bloody bodies, and bleached bones its reaped subjects. The young, once living, now dead. The still living, dying. At the edge of the wasteland three shacks crumble to dust under the weight of hope and repeated failures of peace: A shanty of quiet resignation, a shanty of determination, a shanty of fear released, once lined up against ruin, dark lightning, and silent thunder.
This poem points to T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland and to Eliot’s further sources. Follow the links from Eliot quotes and allusions above to the original lines and to annotations: The Waste Land :: T. S. Eliot Original content from that site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Poem ©2022 Michael Dickel
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