The Waste Land and Other Poems

By T.S. Eliot; Published In 1922
Genres: Poetry, Classics, Fiction, Literature
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What’s not believed in, or if still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon
Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with
Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think
Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices
Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues
Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

And indeed there will be time for the yellow smoke that slides along the street rubbing its back upon the window-panes; there will be time , there will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; there will be time to murder and create, and time for all the works and days of hands that lift and drop a question on your plate; time for you and time for me, and time yet for a hundred indecisions, and for a hundred visions and revisions, before the taking of toast and tea.

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices in the lost lilac and the lost sea voices and the weak spirit quickens to rebel for the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell quickens to recover.

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding

April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgotten snow, feeding a little life with dried tubers.

Datta, dayadhvam, damyata
(Give, sympathize, control)

Fading, fading: strength beyond hope and despair climbing the third stair. Lord, I am not worthy Lord, I am not worthy but speak the word only.

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

I that was near your heart was removed therefrom

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

O perpetual revolution of configured stars, o perpetual recurrence of determined seasons, o world of spring and autumn, birth and dying! The endless cycle of idea and action, endless invention, endless experiment, brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; knowledge of speech, but not of silence; knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, all our ignorance brings us nearer to death, but nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.

There is no water, so things are bad. If there were water, it would be better. But there is no water.

Think neither fear nor courage saves us.
Unnatural vices are fathered by our heroism.
Virtues are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

This form, this face, this life living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken, the awakened, lips parted, the hope, the new ships.

We see the light but see not whence it comes. O Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!