By Marilynn Stark          









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Giant Little

Giant Little Part Two

Catster's War Poem

Political Commentary

On T.S Eliot      

On Shakespeare

On Goethe

On Latin Inspiration  


On Skiing  


                       O n T. S. Eliot


     In keeping with the personal welcome rendered you, my readers, in the home page dedication on your behalf, it seems most fitting to render an extension of that personal spirit so intended.  For such a welcome may be offered in words, but then, how much more persuasion will be requisite to actually win you over to the sincerity of intent, the reality of substantial purpose which that welcome actually means from myself to you.  For if words besides scholarship are to be effective as a tool of persuasion in the quest of any author in any given forum, then to substantiate them for their sincerity in greater deed would certainly foment therein the understanding of purpose.  What is the purpose of writing, if there can be no result from that which is written?  Yes, that is the inner secret of great writing, to selflessly open the hand of creation's urge to none but the paper in front of the author.  Truth as audience, truth as teller, truth as giver and truth as receiver, are all that should foster the growth and development of a writer.  Let not the results of that which was written be incumbent upon the mind for measure through the eyes of others, not as of yet, for the sacred creation of literary art rests upon truth, so that the creation of all that might flow from the pen is already sanctified in the event of its arrival from certain depths akin to the soul.  No matter what loss of persuasion, wherein there is no one else to persuade, if within the cocoon of truth formed by the writer's weaving of words, there lies the chrysalis of future wings to winnings of yea sayers in a world now made receptive to truth.  This obsevation, furthermore, only follows from a secondary realization.  For all is secondary at least to the driven mind to say what must be said when a writer begins a long journey to satiate the telling of it all, the declaring of that which cannot be left undeclared.  The one who has such profound privy to the sancta sanctorum of the absolute value of writing words to convey a message and lend clearer meaning to that message alone knows the irrelevance that anyone else might agree or appreciate the say-so.  For it is at times the lack of recognition of truth which impels the writer to state that truth.  If there does arrive one or a few who should appreciate the message so given, and even learn from it, then a separate purpose has been achieved, although it would have seemed that to persuade such people in the first place would have been presumptive to the act of writing.  When words, however, summon forth the inmost calling of  a writer, seasoned or not, the event of writing transcends all barriers.  The process of writing is a venerable fusion of self with the truth of what is being said.  The product becomes and may remain in a position inferior to that of the event and the process which motivate the writer.  Yet, as exhortatory in potential the truth may be to others, so is the truth to be told in language for other ears, a first fundamental which remains as a paradox to one who is caught in the throes of artistic development.  It is the egoless venture to let truth speak above all, including recognition for that truth having emanated from author's hold, which creates the writer in you.  Then one day may the golden path to knowing that the words of authoring's way have made an impact and have been heard fill the glad heart of the true writer.  For the path to that moment of recognition and fulfilled purpose had all along fused as well with that golden goal in its own recumbent mode.

     In the act of reading a writer's work there is a certain nexus which assumes the role of teaching, though not only of the message intended.  For if that one who sits and muses, and stops and starts at writing, were to see past the spaces in between words more often and more completely somehow, then a whole new message could be given, as well.  However, that message would be from within the heart, and not as descried through the passage into the heart by the words of an author of external source and  moorings.  What if, for instance, such a one as who can see past that which the writer says, were to thereby learn as well how to write?  Certainly, that is a larger task than the average reader will ever conduct successfully, if at all.  Yet, that is also the way in which authors become themselves, authors.  Much like a universal conversation, writing spawns writing.  Words echo in memory, they call up the mind to imitate a certain mode of saying, a certain thread of veracity's centering power.  For each aspiring writer, who may only aspire but for a point alone or a narrow task at hand, let alone conquer in the stacks of the annals of the accomplished ones elected to collect dust for posterity's sake, writing and reading have the power and presence to center the mind to the heart, to recruit the heart then again to the mind. 

     Thus, allow me, please, to introduce herein a poet emeritus who had helped to form my own literary solidarity in the way of becoming a more serious and dedicated writer.  This would certainly hold a special interest for me.   

T.S. Eliot Unravels                                                                                                                         

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;               

     From "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot                                                    

     So begins "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," by the great T.S. Eliot.  Do not take his sheer name for granted, for indeed, this character does put forth a cogent invitation to enter into a view of the world, his own.  If the rock of modern civilization and its very culture is to be rendered for review and thus proofed for its own validation, then this musing character will be the one to perform such a task, though almost implicitly, even despite any namesake identity -- 'proof-rock.'  The poet-creator of the   hapless town crier in Prufrock, however, might pretend only teleologically to being as explicit as a poet might be.  For this pretension overturns the observer's conclusion that such astute conceit as utilized lavishly by the pen of Eliot in creating Prufrock and in portraying Prufrock's dilemma, could not be reduced indeed to graphically-posed truths.   It is as if in following the path created by Eliot to the predestined character born in Prufrock, one looks for stepping stones along the way in avid search, only to find that a stepping stone once descried had fused into a continuous walkway in a process unbeknownst to the reader until perception had been retroactivated upon the imagery.  For this is the mastery of Eliot, to call in as if declaratory might be his verbiage, only if parsing those poesies expressed could undo the plies of reality placed upon a perception platform for the reader's use.  Thus is his challenge posed, and met after the fact seemingly, of apprehension's bold mentorship.  In this literary excellence would Eliot invite, therefore, not singularly through Prufrock, but collectively for all of his say as writer across the spectrum of his entire works.  For the portal of Prufrock's gesture that the world needs review will open unto the most profound literature, if the reader is receptive to a giant who looms over the rest of his ilk -- T.S. Eliot.



          This is no high drama, the one who speaks out against the desolate cityscape so boldly and even coldly at times.  No consolation would be on the agenda of Eliot for those who hear his plaints of observation, now brought home to everyday life through the portrayal of people in descriptive and telling conversations.  Eliot's highly subjective assay of the ills of mankind in the newer day of technology consistently maintains that individuals go through a cycle to death in a predestined manner, and are not as astute as the poet who comments upon them.  "Here is no water but only rock," Eliot maintains in the concluding section of The Waste Land:            

Here is no water but only rock  
Rock and no water and the sandy road  
The road winding above among the mountains  
Which are mountains of rock without water  
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think

From The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot


     How he challenges the normal complacency of points to be made by the typical other poets, and tears at the contemporaneous condition and predicament of man.  While airing his genius in the languages with quotes from Dante, passages in Latin, and remarks in German, for instance, Eliot introduces not a genius among the people who openly converse through everyday matters upon the larger topics he so ominously and deftly presents; then he so trivializes those looming topics to unaware, physiological people without an interactive comment.  He states death, ruination.  This is highly impressionistic, and moreover, a bold statement upon all of mankind made possible through such powerfully impressionistic imagery.  The rock of civilization stands to be pondered by one commentator, himself, who seeks the way to see past the threats of the falling away of man from the place and sanctity of nature and God.  This mission for greater perfection of man in his current, even unperceived dilemma, is decried by Eliot as non-existent; for though the same road has been traversed across broad time, it seems, "...and the sandy road," the life-purifying and life-sustaining force of the element of water is vacated, not present.  Life is vastly portrayed as something to be mourned by this poet, since it is life in an era contrary to the eras of the ancients where something else must have been giving and holistic, something cultural and biological, ecological; yet Eliot says all of this without saying it, and is admired for the literary feat in having done so.  Once a reader has befriended T.S. Eliot for the fact that he uniquely has confronted all of mankind and the current civilization together for the ignorance which underlies the structure about us, the stagnant water in pools on city streets, the pollution, the people caught dumb to their own condition widely; once a reader has swallowed the lack of compassion in such a brave story-teller as Eliot, then it is within the reader where lies the remaining task of synthesizing the dire problem which some poetry's Cicero had to pose for all of the literary culture to ponder.  This impulse in the reader to synthesize and resolve the drab venue before mankind which Eliot propounds will even drive the one who further comprehends Eliot's premise that his broader cultural knowledge should somehow mysteriously qualify him to say so, that all is abject; for such a reader will be driven deeper into the works of Eliot.  Going into the poeticized dilemma, which Eliot straddles with erudite references to the classical, the ancient and highly cultured, left yet untranslated for the many who cannot know the content of those references, the inquirer through Eliot stands to find certain difficulty.  Death, the lack of harmony and balance even in the basic elements of fire and water, as portrayed in The Waste Land; defeat by time of all that there is to live for in life -- garbage, pollution, even the sacred image of the sea, the ocean as the cradle of life is taken apart by this master of the existential.  Consider these lines from The Waste Land, where the observer of the boatman on the sea contemplates impending death as answer to voyage across that entity which stands throughout most literature as the cradle of life:               

Damyata: The boat responded  
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar  
The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
Gaily, when invited, beating obedient  
To controlling hands  
                      I sat upon the shore  
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me  
Shall I at least set my lands in order?

From The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

     For the hands of inevitable death rule throughout as inevitable in Eliot's imagery, and this is civilization-wide in character, as well.  What mastery could tell such a tall tale?   Yes, the tale is there to be told, but more kindly through impressionistic imagery.  This ultimate subjectivity on the part of Eliot through impressionistically portrayed reality makes an opening for the one stricken by that sordid reality, that morbid outlook.  The opening is constituted of an implied compassion by Eliot, which amounts to his implicit invitation for his reader to flatten the polarities individualistically, and as if they might wish to distinguish themselves in so doing past the characters so skillfully rendered with live and colloquial conversations throughout the poetry.  This way of leading the reader to truth, and bringing in real characters to challenge the reality of the daily lives of all through the spoken words of the characters, allows the larger commentary Eliot offers the objective thinker on today's problems and  greater juncture.  This leadership causes Eliot to stand at the forefront of accomplishment in literary contribution, for by posing the problems, he has made man think and want to see.  This method of leadership also conforms to the exact nature of what stands before us in the structure of technology, and Eliot will throughout his work remind us of that fact.  For do we actually know as a unified civilization what to do ahead of time, as things evolve for the sheer sake of convenience and leisure?  The bold Eliot seems to say no.

Marilynn Stark   July 14, 2004

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