"I will show you fear in a handful of dust"
T S Eliot, The Waste Land I
The shadow of Eliot's ghost still falls across the land,
His tongue the language that we use
In trying to make others understand
Fragmented thoughts and discordant views
Images of decay and creeping doom
Alongside cityscapes of frozen souls
He leaves on walls of modern catacombs,
The subways, rendered bright by aerosols
As we face another weird winter
And wonder when and how the end will be,
Knowledge cracks and cultures splinter:
Discourse fades into soliloquy.
In times when everything is going mad
What chance to defend frail sanities?
Eliot's ghost has nothing else to add:
He is unsurprised by all he sees.
A desperate duel of faith and dread
Injures hope and breeds distrust.
The shadow watches, hears what is said,
And, leaving, scatters handfuls of dust.
Martin Locock, 1997