Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

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 a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all;
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet–and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say, “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

—  “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Elliot
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.
—  T.S. Elliot, Burnt Norton
The Hollow Men

Mistah Kurtz-he dead

            A penny for the Old Guy


    “We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

    Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
    Remember us-if at all-not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
    As the hollow men
    The stuffed men.


    Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
    In death’s dream kingdom
    These do not appear:
    There, the eyes are
    Sunlight on a broken column
    There, is a tree swinging
    And voices are
    In the wind’s singing
    More distant and more solemn
    Than a fading star.

    Let me be no nearer
    In death’s dream kingdom
    Let me also wear
    Such deliberate disguises
    Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
    In a field
    Behaving as the wind behaves
    No nearer-

    Not that final meeting
    In the twilight kingdom


    This is the dead land
    This is cactus land
    Here the stone images
    Are raised, here they receive
    The supplication of a dead man’s hand
    Under the twinkle of a fading star.

    Is it like this
    In death’s other kingdom
    Waking alone
    At the hour when we are
    Trembling with tenderness
    Lips that would kiss
    Form prayers to broken stone.


    The eyes are not here
    There are no eyes here
    In this valley of dying stars
    In this hollow valley
    This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

    In this last of meeting places
    We grope together
    And avoid speech
    Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

    Sightless, unless
    The eyes reappear
    As the perpetual star
    Multifoliate rose
    Of death’s twilight kingdom
    The hope only
    Of empty men.


    Here we go round the prickly pear
    Prickly pear prickly pear
    Here we go round the prickly pear
    At five o’clock in the morning.

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow
                                   For Thine is the Kingdom

    Between the conception
    And the creation
    Between the emotion
    And the response
    Falls the Shadow
                                   Life is very long

    Between the desire
    And the spasm
    Between the potency
    And the existence
    Between the essence
    And the descent
    Falls the Shadow
                                   For Thine is the Kingdom

    For Thine is
    Life is
    For Thine is the

    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.”

T.S. Eliot

Abril es el mes más cruel: engendra
lilas de la tierra muerta, mezcla
recuerdos y anhelos, despierta
inertes raíces con lluvias primaverales.
El invierno nos mantuvo cálidos, cubriendo
la tierra con nieve olvidadiza, nutriendo
una pequeña vida con tubérculos secos.
Nos sorprendió el verano, precipitóse sobre el Starnbergersee
con un chubasco, nos detuvimos bajo los pórticos,
y luego, bajo el sol, seguimos dentro de Hofgarten,
y tomamos café y charlamos durante una hora.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm'aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
Y cuando éramos niños, de visita en casa del archiduque,
mi primo, él me sacó en trineo.
Y yo tenía miedo. Él me dijo: Marie,
Marie, agárrate fuerte. Y cuesta abajo nos lanzamos.
Uno se siente libre, allí en las montañas.
Leo, casi toda la noche, y en invierno me marcho al Sur.

¿Cuáles son las raíces que arraigan, qué ramas crecen
en estos pétreos desperdicios? Oh hijo del hombre,
no puedes decirlo ni adivinarlo; tu sólo conoces
un montón de imágenes rotas, donde el sol bate,
y el árbol muerto no cobija, el grillo no consuela
y la piedra seca no da agua rumorosa. Sólo
hay sombra bajo esta roca roja
(ven a cobijarte bajo la sombra de esta roca roja),
y te enseñaré algo que no es
ni la sombra tuya que te sigue por la mañana
ni tu sombra que al atardecer sale a tu encuentro;
te mostraré el miedo en un puñado de polvo.

Frisch weht der Wind
der Heimat zu
mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?

«Hace un año me diste jacintos por primera vez;
me llamaron la muchacha de los jacintos.»
— Pero cuando regresamos, tarde, del jardín de los jacintos,
llevando, tú, brazados de flores y el pelo húmedo, no pude
hablar, mis ojos se empañaron, no estaba
ni vivo ni muerto, y no sabía nada,
mirando el silencio dentro del corazón de la luz.
Oed’ und leer das Meer.

Madame Sosostris, famosa pitonisa,
tenía un mal catarro, aun cuando
se la considera como la mujer más sabia de Europa,
con un pérfido mazo de naipes. Ahí —dijo ella—
está su naipe, el Marinero Fenicio que se ahogó,
(estas perlas fueron sus ojos. ¡Mira!)
aquí está la Belladonna, la Dama de las Rocas,
la dama de las peripecias.
Aquí está el hombre de los tres bastos, y aquí la Rueda,
y aquí el comerciante tuerto, y este naipe
en blanco es algo que lleva sobre la espalda
y que no puedo ver. No encuentro
al Ahorcado. Temed, la muerte por agua.
Veo una muchedumbre girar en círculo.
Gracias. Cuando vea a la señora Equitone,
dígale que yo misma le llevaré el horóscopo:
¡una tiene que andar con cuidado en estos días!

Ciudad Irreal,
bajo la parda niebla del amanecer invernal,
una muchedumbre fluía sobre el puente de Londres ¡eran tantos!
Nunca hubiera yo creído que la muerte se llevara a tantos.
Exhalaban cortos y rápidos suspiros
y cada hombre clavaba su mirada delante de sus pies.
Cuesta arriba y después calle King William abajo
hacia donde Santa María Woolnoth cuenta las horas
con un repique sordo al final de la novena campanada.
Allí encontré un conocido y le detuve gritando: «¡Stetson!,
¡tú, que estuviste contigo en los barcos de Mylae!
¿Aquel cadáver que plantaste el año pasado en tu jardín,
ha empezado a germinar? ¿Florecerá este año?
¿No turba su lecho la súbita escarcha?
¡Oh, saca de allí al Perro, que es amigo de los hombres,
pues si no lo desenterrará de nuevo con sus uñas!
Tú, hypocrite lecteur! — mon semblable — mon frère!»