Thomas Stearns Eliot
The Goddess Sovranty
She said to him:
“Will you be a king or a poet?”
and he said to her
“Please make me English.”
and the consequence was
He shored up his ruins with fragments.
Always by water.
He called them nereids, naiads, lamias,
the words parching his mouth,
words, like water, flowing always away.
(He played with them as a boy.
As a man they embarassed him:
he was not a Romantic.)
There, in the fog, he had seen his shadow
and found it a soldier, returning,
and doubted, doubted,
he had fought great wars for civilization in his own way
but had he missed the tide
that would define his generation?
Glimpsed in the drifting mist, towers, the dome,
who was Vindication, simply by being there for him.
He chose to tear up his roots
and wrote cut-flower poetry thereafter,
still as a Chinese vase moves.
1st March 2012