Tuesday, May 09, 2006



The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o'clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.


The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.


You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed's edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.


His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o'clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.

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.

By T.S.Eliot

I have been struggling with a couple of T.S.Eliot’s poems over the recent months, and this poem came to mind after reading Leon’s post last week, as it builds upon the sense of solitude conveyed in Muriel Spark’s “Standing in the field”.

This poem is a series of little portraits or scenes, if you will, of the speaker’s observations at different moments of the day (during the 1910s). The first section depicts a rainy, windswept evening that seems to have that dreary feel of the day’s end, especially with the imagery of strewn newspapers as leftover, unwanted rubbish. The monotonous rain beating down works together with the rhymes ‘passageways – days’, ‘wraps – scraps’ ‘lots –pots’, ‘stamps – lamps’ where the repetitive ‘s’ endings adds a sense of dullness and weariness.

The second section carries with it some of the ‘mood’ of the first. Instead of celebrating a beautiful morning as a start of new day, the morning opens up to the remains of yesterday. “Of faint, stale, smell of beer”. The stresses in this line lend a heaviness to the day’s beginning, just as use of synecdoche in “muddy feet” suggest a kind of unwilling trudging off to work (hence, needing coffee). The raising of shades then is not look forward to, but something done almost mechanically, as if the morning were a promise of not something wonderful, but the start of the day’s burden.

Tossing and turning in bed from the dark early hours of the morning to sunrise, the speaker in the third section looks out the window, litted dimly by the street lamps. What he sees are “sordid images” of the places and things his life is ‘constituted’ by during the day. In this respect, this section is perhaps a kind of extension of the earlier section (II) about the start of the day, except that it is directly more personal here. The ‘you’ that the speaker addresses is not the reader, rather it is his very own self, as he sits in a huddled figure, pensively letting his thoughts wonder/wander.

The forth section turns to the period between late afternoon to evening, when the sun’s rays is “stretched tightly across the skies” and gradually grows dimmer, leaving “[t]he conscience of a blackened street”. At this close of the day (as well as the poem), the speaker is probably left by himself, and he is captured by a sense of the tedium/ tediousness of life, of the day’s beginning and end that seem to signify little – life that is a prelude (irony of the title) only to emptiness. The deeply melancholic and yet profoundly moving phrase “infinitely gentle/ Infinitely suffering thing”, though a fancy of the speaker, seems to express a belief and desire for something more meaningful than the alienation and futility that he feels. But, the speaker then sharply turns away from this thought and gives a bitter, cynical laugh, declaring that life and the world around him is nothing more than like old women gathering broken pieces of driftwood for fire.

What strikes you about speaker of this poem?
What is suggested by the final image of the old women collecting firewood?
If the final two stanzas were not part of this poem, would you have read it differently? (less melancholic, perhaps?)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic poetry, splendid analysis. Eliot really provokes the senses with this doesn't he? ...the smell of steaks rising with the smoky day being dampened down by a shower...and the grimy scraps about your feet, etc. (Don't we always zoom in to detail on the ground during rainfall?). I love the way he links one sense to the next....

6:20 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

Hi Walker, so glad you dropped by, and thnaks for you insights and kind words.

Yeah, I really like how evocative T.S.Eliot uses language in this poem, not to mention how the rhythm of speech (as with the meanderings of thoughts) makes this first section so 'moody'. I would think T.S. Eliot knew the English weather and lanscape so well, from the time he moved there.

6:57 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger bibliobibuli said...

dreamer idiot - you've done a superb job of analysing this!

the title "preludes" begs the question, preludes to - what, exactly?

i love the first prelude and it's one of the pieces of poetry i learned by heart - it just sums up for me the feeling of dusk falling at the end of a blustery winter's day in England and is incredibly atmospheric. it's an urban scene, a city scape. i imagine a pretty rundown, very working-class area of cheap lodging houses. somehow, eliot finds a kind of beauty in a not terribly picturesque scene ...

love the line "the burnt-out ends of smoky days" - (the air would have been very smoky in those days too when all households burned coal)

the personification is interesting - the evening "settles down", the morning "comes to consciousness" - and the day itself is personified

"the sawdust trampled streets" intrigues - why has sawdust been put down? to soak up the mud? (if was often used in butchers' shops to soak up blood, and sprinkled on the floor of pubs)

the switch to "you" in the third stanza surprises ... the poem having set the genereral scene is homing in on a particular woman. (yep, it has to be) who is she? i'm intrigued. there's for sure something frowsy and distasteful about her ... the dirty hands and feet, the sordid images playing in her dreams (or maybe as you say, she just sees the events of the day as she lies awake)... yet she's vain enough to curl her hair

now the bit i don't quite get here is "you had such a vision of the street/ as the street hardly understands"

what was that vision?

perhaps the first sentence of the last prelude explains it: "his souls stretched tight across the skies".

whose soul? it sounds to me like a religious reference - this low-life woman sees an image of the divine, of god in the everyday life of the streets, rising even out of the ugliness

the speaker is moved by this thought - that something beautiful and gentle and perhaps a little fragile can arise grom the ugliness ..

he adresses the woman again inviting her to laugh - perhaps at her vision

... the last two lines intrigue me and i have no answers ... why should worlds revolve like ancient women gathering fuel?

eliot liked to use jarring images just to provoke though, so i suppose i will have to carry it around with me for a while before the meaning comes clear

a tough poem, dreamer idiot! i'm not done with it yet. i'll go away and thing and tease at it some more.

6:17 PM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger Madcap Machinist said...

Hm, what a poem to ponder upon when it's been raining heavily every day in the city this past week... but it is a poem that inspires obsession.

I apologize for this lengthy comment, but this poem is so wonderful to learn from (as I am, admittedly, learning as I come along), and to discuss... so, in that spirit, I'd like to add on to Dreamer Idiot's analysis for other readers.

First, some observations about technique.

From the first stanza,

And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet

There's a pun here that works effectively with enjambment when you read it out loud i.e. a gusty shower raps (conveying the sound of raindrops) and then, running on and taking on a different meaning, a gusty shower wraps the grimy scraps of withered leaves about your feet.

I agree with Dreamer Idiot, the sibilants in the first stanza, does add to the mood of the rain. Throughout the poem, the repetitive 's' sounds tend to lull the reader/listener, the way listening to white noise tends to make you fall asleep... which makes the ending of the poem even more of a punch!

I feel that some of the alliteration adds to the richness of the imagery as an onomatopoetic — words that which sounds suggest/imitate the sound it describes — device: the smell of steaks in passageways, a lonely cab-horse steams and stamps — the hissing sound of the esses invokes the sound of steaks on the grill and of the rain steaming off the horse's back; the showers beat on broken blinds — "bup! bup! bup!"

The internal rhymes within the poem adds to the musical qualities of this poem, something that struck me from the first time I read it. For example, in the second stanza:

The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.

While the first stanza builds some energy with staccato alliterations, the second stanza uses more assonance, which, in my opinion, slows the poem's pace a bit, taking cue from the last line of stanza I, the rolling lighting of the lamps.

The repetitive 'o' sounds in the first line, followed by faint and stale, and the stressed 'e's in street, feet, and coffee. Further on, we find masquerades/shades and resumes/rooms ... and so on.

In the first two stanzas the poem's narrator remains detached, and rather than describing human beings, only describes the muddy feet and hands (synecdoche... now that's a word of the day).

Then in the third one, he suddenly rounds up on a poor woman waking up in the morning with three lines starting with the word 'you' that draws the reader in:

You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing

Who is this woman? Dreamer Idiot thinks it's the narrator speaking of himself but lets explore a different interpretation: perhaps she is a prostitute, hence the 'dirty' hands and yellow soles of feet (a symptom of disease maybe, or could be just rough calloused feet)? The first half of the stanza is certainly suggestive... toss the blanket on the bed, and lie waiting and dozing away to escape as a thousand men come to visit over the nights.

The thousand sordid images ... flickered against the ceiling — perhaps shadows by a bedside lamp.

I only put forward this interpretation because of the lines "You had such a vision of the street/As the street hardly understands;", which suggests that she knows some dirty secrets about the people walking in the street downstairs. And there is the personage of the light creeping through the shutters, as opposed to the image of sunlight boldly streaming through, as if the room is a place more suitable for darkness.

... but, no, an unhappy woman who can't find sleep and therefore knows something of the streets at night (and other people don't understand because they are asleep) seems more to the theme of the poem.

And so we come to the final part of the poem.

I feel that here is the message of the poem... all this dreariness and unhappiness is because of the lack of spirituality — "His (God's/Jesus's) soul stretched tight across the skies / That fade behind a city block" suggests that God has been placed and forgotten in the background, or, trampled by insistent feet, caught up in the daily rush (four and five and six o'clock; rush hour), impatient to take on the world.

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

At this point, I am more inclined to agree with Sharon's interpretation that the woman has seen something of the divine, or an insight of the human condition, in the everyday drudgery and the speaker is moved by it.

But one gets the feeling that he's more skeptical, from the use of the word 'fancies'. Just laugh it off, he says in the final stanza, the universe (worlds revolve=planets revolve) will always be this way — a tired, meaningless existence.

Ah... so depressing!

Cheers anyway, it's a great poem to think about. Thanks DI!

7:39 AM, May 13, 2006  
Blogger Madcap Machinist said...

By the way, in the Andrew-Lloyd Webber musical, Cats several lines from this poem was used in the song Memory.

7:48 AM, May 13, 2006  
Blogger bibliobibuli said...

brilliant, machinist!

yes, a prostitute makes sense - wonder if the cab in the first stanza is bringing her a customer?

was thinking about the last stanza all yesterday evening (such is the effect of the poem) - think you are right about the ending - she knows so much about the people on the street - mnay were her customers - any holy vision she had is cynically laughed off

the image of the women gathering wood? - do you think it is about the struggle to survive, to eke out a living - which is how human beings have survived since the beginning of time - how can you think of anything spiritual when your whole life is a hand to mouth existence?

there's so much in this poem!!!

8:34 AM, May 13, 2006  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

Wow, Machinist... You floored me completely with the depth of your analysis. Why, don't apologise at all, and go on and on as long as you want. I am just thrilled reading it. Thoroughly enjoyed (while learning) how you brought the complexity and richness of the rhythms and sounds of the poem to light.

Yes, the 'You' in the thrid section could very much be a woman... I am so happy Sharon pointed this out. In fact, I'm becoming convinced it is the case (the narrator is a woman then).
Machinist, you are really brilliant, a prostitute would fit the sordidness perfectly, and how she struggles with the futility she sees before her, how her life seem to amount to so little.

The image of the huddled person holding the feet seems to me an inwardly suffering person, perhaps weeping in a heap, very much a figure of deep isolation that is "infinitely gentle / Infitely suffering".

Sharon, that is how exactly I see the old women gathering firewood, just trying to live from day to day. They could be widows, with the word 'ancient', which makes them even more forlorn.

Reading this poem, I also thought about the period in which it was written, the 1910s which was still pretty industrial...and life in the city then, crowded, dirty and rather 'depressing', as people went about almost 'mechanically' with their harsh and difficult lives (I would think).

To any shy reader, please do join in the discussions and don't feel afraid about commenting (write anything), because I would love to hear from you.

9:51 AM, May 13, 2006  
Blogger Leon Wing said...

Gosh, Dreamer Idiot, you've done yourself proud with your indepth analysis. And the comments, as additional analysis from Sharon and Machinist particularly, further throw more light.

On my part I notice that most of the lines, particularly those in Stanza I, have been done up in a rising tone or iambic. In that first stanza there are 4 beats in each line, except for 3 lines, which only run on 2 beats. These 2-beat 3rd lines break the consistency of 4 beats after every second 4-beat lines. And then Eliot threads together all these lines deftly with rhymes. The 2-beat lines rather stand out: it’s 6; dirty scraps; heavy rain. However after the third last line, he forgoes an expectant 2-beat line, so that the last four lines are read so regular in tone, you sort of sense the day is running as per usual. Eliot doesn’t repeat this beat scheme again, or the rhyming one, in the other stanzas. But he repeats a couple of rising-tone or iambic lines at irregular intervals though.

I‘m not sure if there is some significance or a link in 3 lines that have a similar rhythmic construction: the 2nd to 4nd syllables can all be read out haltingly, so that they linger a while longer. Are these groups of words connected somehow?

Stanza II:
Of faint stale smells of beer

Stanza IV:
His soul stretched tight across the skies

And short square fingers stuffing pipes,

11:17 AM, May 13, 2006  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

Leon, thanks for your more than effusive praise. I am really enjoying reading and learning from the comments from others, as they add fresh, new insights and different perspectives.

Yeah, Eliot didn't use a strict regular mertical rhythm in this poem, as you laid it out so clearly... instead, I would think he was using some of the rhythm of speech and thoughts.

As for a possible link between the three lines, mmm... I doubt so, but perhaps someone sees something I don't. For me, those lines with the same rhythm pattern. with its 'weighty' stresses slows the poem and gives it its meditative, and (to me at least) partly melancholic tone. :) Thanks for showing this.

12:01 AM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger bibliobibuli said...

don't think so, leon

but maybe they just add to the texture of the poem particualrly with all those "s" sounds

it is a lovely poem to read aloud

10:03 AM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger Leon Wing said...

Really I find these 3 lines stand out so clearly for me in their rhythmic construction (and there are no other lines similar). I somehow see them connected in some way.

The most obvious, of course, is the slower way those groups of threes make you read, so that you can sense the lingering smell of beer, you see as if so close-up the fingers stuffing the pipes, and you see the soooo vast expanse of "His" soul up in the sky.

I don't feel any melancholy in them, just a feeling of surfeit, of settling down after a heavy dinner, of moving slowly, stomach stretched tight.

4:20 PM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger Madcap Machinist said...

The use of the word 'masquerades' in stanza II is interesting... as you say, DI, it suggests a mechanical, repetitive existence -- a life without meaning.

The lines '[...]and eyes / Assured of certain certainties, / The conscience of a blackened street' are also interesting. 'Certain certainties' seems to be an ironic comment... I wonder what he's trying to say.

And what do you think 'The conscience of a blackened street' means? Why 'a blackened street' ... it can be a dark street, or taking cue from the word 'conscience', from a street with a bad reputation. That is, its inhabitants have a bad reputation.

As for metrical patterns in the poem... I tried to work it out but then I gave up. There's no fixed pattern, certainly, but I have an idea. Maybe this poem doesn't follow any poetic form, but instead follows the musical form of a 'prelude'.

From wikipedia article on preludes:

"A prelude is a short piece of music, usually in no particular internal form, which may serve as an introduction to succeeding movements of a work that are usually longer and more complex. Many preludes have a continuous ostinato throughout, usually of the rhythmic and melodic variety. They are also somewhat improvisatory in style."

That certainly sounds like the form of this poem!

An ostinato is a repetition of a musical phrase i.e. a riff, much like the repetitive rhythmical constructions that caught Leon's attention.

So maybe T.S. Eliot composed this poem like he was composing a musical score instead? I wonder if there's a hidden code in there that someone can translate into a little tune...

Well, I don't know anything about composing music, so maybe someone else can take the poem apart.


6:45 PM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

Leon, aaah...yes, I was wondering if anyone read this poem differently from my own 'melancholic' sense of it. You definitely have a point there, especially when one omits the final two stanzas which seems for me to give its depressiveness. The surfeit you mentioned, could be one of too much reflection, perhaps.

Machinist, I struggled long with this poem and "conscience of a blackened street" was one of the things that stumped me. For me, it seems a powerful late evening imagery afer the sun has set, with deep, dark shadows falling on the street (light from dim street lamps). Conscience is definitely suggestive of one's inner moral sense, but the word could also possibly refer to state of consciousness or mood at that time in the evening (both reading works well, I think).

As for the musical form of the prelude, I am very glad you brought it up. The "ossinato" is probably the organising principle behind the seemingly disjointed parts of the poem, as the poem like a prelude works through a series of little portraits with the common motif and theme of alienation/ pensive thoughts (rhythm of meandering thoughts rather than strict metrical beats); that is why, at the end, the speaker of the poem mentions being struck by the "fancies that are curled around these images".

11:59 PM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger bibliobibuli said...

melancholic is a good word to describe it ...

btw i think i've sussed out the "sawdust-trampled streets"

remember i said that sawdust was sprinkled on the floors of pubs (to soak up beer-spills and people spitting) - well, in the morning it would be swept out onto the streets, and the pub floor sprinkled with a new layer

this is therefore a street with at least one - perhaps several public houses

elementary, my dear watson!

leon - those three lines don't need to be linked in terms of meaning i think, just that the repeated pattern helps to give shape to the poem

machinist - nice explanation about what a prelude is as a piece of music and yes, it fits the poem beautifully

7:10 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Leon Wing said...

Machinist, you have worked it out, my man! Yes, only the 1st stanza has some sort of metrical pattern (as I commented on earlier). The remaining ones are all mish-mash. Except for a group containing a trio of stresses packed together. And everyone else is either in two minds about the connections or utterly opposed to them having any except having just shape. I have to add again, that when a good poet repeats a pattern he must have an agenda, a purpose. And when he does it thrice, he's prodding you, "Come on, take a look, see what I'm trying to say."

Back to the 1st stanza with the only metrical form so patent, Machinist is - again! - spot on about the musical aspect. The first stanza is so regular and comfortable that it could stand as a prelude to what are to follow.

And Machinist mentioned some words are actually in a song from Cats. FYI, Eliot wrote an entire book of poems just about cats alone. I believe the musical Cats is based on them.

Machinist, I can't wait to read your coming posting of your choice of the week's poem to discuss!

9:27 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

Wonderful...wonderful... All these discussions and different interpretations going to and fro.

12:49 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Madcap Machinist said...

Yes, it's wonderful isn't it... I'm enjoying these discussions very much too!

There is a collection of other poems by TS Eliot at Bartleby.com plus some of his critical essays too.

I remember reading somewhere that TS Eliot has said that to understand a poem it should not be necessary to know background of the poet himself, or relate it to his other works; certainly not his own! I think that's poppycock.

Cats the Musical is based on TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. I can hardly remember life without Wikipedia these days.

Have you guys seen the number of entries on poetic form alone? Amazing.

Phew! We all spent a lot of time on this one didn't we? I think I'll look for a lighter poem to chew on for my turn though... *wink*

8:04 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

I come bearing link!

Eliot reciting "The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock".

9:44 PM, May 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The third prelude's "you" I believe to not be the poet as was suggested but rather a prostitute. Makes sense doesn't it that her "soul was constituted" of a "thousand sordid images." Additonally, one who walks the street certainly has "such a vision of the street as the street hardly understands." Based off those two quotes it is arguable that the character is merely a street peddler, but what lead me to believe that Eliot was actually speaking of a hooker was the fact that despite the filth she is sorrouned by and her "yellow soles" and "soiled hands" she still curls her hair.

8:24 AM, April 23, 2007  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

Thanks, anonymous. I would agree too. :) I like Eliot quite a bit, though I don't exactly understand or catch his many classical allusions in his other poems.

5:43 PM, April 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice one for the analysis guys will help much with imminent exam.
As for who the speaker and the 'you' is im undecided but no one has forwarded the idea that this could deliberately contain a number of interpretations. Shakespeare makes prolific use of this device in his sonnets. Anyway thx again :D

2:20 AM, May 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for your amazing analysis that cleared up the fog that hindered my interpretation of this poem. now i will be able to write my english paper.

12:02 PM, September 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life Saver
Now I actually understand the poem
(I come from a Non-english background...)

6:15 PM, February 20, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i studied Preludes 10 years ago, and have been trying to explain the poem to my kid brother for his leaving cert. your comments were all amazingly helpful and it was interesting to see how insights change through the generations. thanks again

8:34 PM, May 08, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The language device for repeated 's' sounds can be called sibilance.

7:34 PM, June 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could it not be about someone that is working in a factory the paper is just rubbish in his hair, dirty hands from work, yellow feet from standing all day, sorid images from the many deaths that happened all the time back then, i think yall see where im going with this

10:30 PM, December 11, 2008  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

Yes, that's a possibility that I hadn't thought about. Thanks for sharing. :)

5:28 PM, December 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish i hadn't joined the conversation so late,cause y'all are done discussing lol

7:15 AM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

Haha... in a way. but at least I learned something from you, and perhaps you may have picked up something also. Cheers.

3:00 PM, December 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im stumped by the lines..
"I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:"
any help?

9:19 AM, February 19, 2009  
Blogger dreameridiot said...

What does the lines tell you? What has been described before these lines? It's quite a straighforward line, and the punctuation : tells you what is being clung to, from the fancies (speculations, thoughts) of these images.

If you need to, read the poem again, and again. Most of us take at least a few readings to appreciate a poem. Cheers.

3:39 PM, February 19, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi :)
I'd like to thank you for your great analysis of Eliot.
I'm doing a paper on him and it's helped me a lot.

However, in my opinion, I think it was God, not the sun's rays that is 'stretched across the skies' and 'trampled by insistent feet'.

Eliot had written Preludes at a time in his life when he was feeling Spiritually exhausted. Thus, in section four, I think he's referring to the presence of God, which is taken for granted in the decadence of the city.

Thanks again :)))))))))))

7:36 PM, May 04, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am currently writing a peice on this poem and alot of these comments have been very useful to gather other interpretation of the poem.

Althogh, in my opinion, i think it is god that is stretched across the sky and it's the city blocks that not only block out the sky but also god. this therefore suggests that the people living here lose their souls or spirits to their working lives whether its due to no longer being connected god or whether their souls get trampled by insistant feet throughout the working day.

thanks for the useful interpretations of this text. :)

6:17 PM, October 16, 2009  
Anonymous p3ni$$M@n said...


5:50 PM, March 10, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this poem. Thanks for all the interesting facts and interpretations. For me, it is the writer's soul being stretched across the evening sky at the end of a long, tiring day, and his innermost hopes and dreams continually trampled by the demands of the working world. Lately I feel this myself.

11:44 AM, June 11, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All these comments are very helpful in understanding the poem. for me i believe that the writter is trying to explain how feels about his lonely days that seem to all blur together, his feeling of a dull life. his use of imagery is intimate towards the reader. the repition of the sound 'o' gives the feeling of an ongiong repitition of agian, his daily life and how everyday is the same.

7:55 AM, August 23, 2011  
Anonymous Maximus dickus said...

T.S.Eliot uses language in this poem, not to mention how the rhythm of speech which makes this first section so 'moody'. I would think T.S. Eliot knew the English weather and lanscape so well, from the time he moved there.


8:01 AM, August 23, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i believe that eliot was trying to express the inner misery that was shown in the line 'the burnt out ends of smokey days' showing clearly that eliot was exhausted with the temptations of the day.
In this poem, the line 'the morning comes to consciousness of faint stale smells of beer' which represents his realisation of the life he is living, being less than what it should be.
In stanza 3 the author shows his disallusioned dismissal of so called 'prostitutes' having a soul and them merley being 'sordid images'.
I believe the first few lines in stanza 4 potrays the pain which he feels within his soul due to his uncanny dislike of himself.
The continous suffering is shown right throughout the poem, it is shown in the metaphors expressing the dark winter setting of this poem.
The line 'you had such a vision of the street as the street hardly understands' communicates the apathetic view that the outside world had on his personal struggles.
thankyou,- emily, ashleigh and jacquie.

8:03 AM, August 23, 2011  
Anonymous you know who said...

the use of words that do not exist in the english dictionary bother me as it gives the feeling that he is lying and cannot give a true meaning to story.

8:05 AM, August 23, 2011  
Blogger Rohit4u said...

I agree to the point the poem is all about bringing the account for a life full of sordidness can anyone here describe me the meaning of these lines..............
"The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing".

2:58 AM, January 10, 2013  
Anonymous Prapti said...

The poem is wonderfully analyzed no doubt. But I noticed a grave error. Preludes 3 is not about a certain "him" but it is actually about a certain "her",referring to a prostitute. Not for one moment is it mentioned that the 'person' is looking out of the window rather she is lying on her bed thinking about last night's 'sordid' or ugly images of which her soul was now constituted. when you read the 3rd part considering the 'you' as a sex worker the idea that the poet wanted to portray becomes crystal clear. And if it were a 'him' then how do u explain the line "you curled the papers from your hair"?
I suggest you do your research and make the necessary changes.

9:32 PM, June 09, 2013  

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