The Waste Land By T.S.Eliot

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 forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

In these opening lines of Eliot’s The Waste Land we may look at the way time and space are interwoven,both within themselves as well as between individual chunks of time and space :

First let us talk of time:

April , spring,winter, summer,hour, when,night,winter

Space:

Dead land,roots,earth,Starnbergersee,colonnade,Hofgarten,the arch-duke’s,down,in the mountains

Time and space fused together:

I read much of the night and go south in the winter

Shorter time fused with longer time:
I read much of the night(shorter time)
Go south in the winter (longer time)
Space fused with time:
I read much of the time( A temporal frame :much of the night)
Go south in the winter (A spatial frame : Go south )

Conjunction between short term activity and long term activity, without an apparent logical connection:

I read much of the time and go south in the winter

The linkage between the first and the second is neither one of chronology nor of cause-and -effect.

A similar linkage will be found later in the poem about Madam Sosostris

“Madam Sosostris had a bad cold
Nevertheless is known to be the wisest woman in Europe”
(non sequitor)

Summer surprised us coming over the Starnbergersee/with a shower of rain

The music of the line is in a soft repetition of the “s” sound as if it is enacting the rain
falling on the lake Starnbergersee.

The summer is not the summer of every year but a summer that surprises with a shower of rain. Actually summer is coming over the Starnbergersee,not a harsh dry summer on the lake but a soft out-of-the season rainfall that stirs dull roots.

April is the cruellest month,linked to a spatial framework of dead land (space)
The cruelty is in the mixture of memory and desire, sparked off by the lilacs bursting from the dead land.
Spring stirs dull roots (spatial ): spring is dynamic,roots are static.Spring stirs them to motion.
Winter kept us warm, covering earth(space) in forgetful snow.Winter keeping us warm is paradoxical .But winter(time) covers our earth (space) in forgetful snow, making us forget our condition.Note the lazy roots springing to motion in April but now the dried tubers are fed a little life by winter’s snow.

And when we were children (longer time frame)
staying at the arch-duke’s (medium time frame)
he took me out on a sled (narrative- short time frame)
and I was frightened (narrative-recall of feeling)
he said,Mary, Mary,hold on tight (Direct speech-narrative)
and down we went (onomatopoeic ,speech with gesture)
In the mountains there you feel free (universalization of personal experience)
I read much of the night/ Juxtaposing the present with the past
go south in the winter .

The other interesting things are the music of the words and a fine lyricism achieved by clever use of syntax:

In the mountains ( universal for the mountains in general )
there you feel free (particularizing the location :there)

I read much of the night and go south in the winter :The verbs “read” and “go” are balanced to convey that they are sequential activities, which they are not.

The music of words : Mary, Mary, hold on tight /And down we went.

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“Rime of the Ancient Mariner”- By S.T.Coleridge

Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white.

And some in dreams assurèd were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

The nine stanzas are from the longer poem of Coleridge and are widely known for their imagery- a collection of some of the finest images used in Romantic poetry. The ship entered a silent sea after a spell of a fine wind .The mariner killed the albatross that brought the good fortune of the wind and has now to wear the dead albatross around his neck as if it is the cross. The wind no longer carries the sail.

The deathly silence of the sea is beautifully captured in the four lines:

Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

The silence of the sea is conveyed by the preponderance of monosyllables (except the word “silence” itself which is di-syllabic).

“Down dropt the breeze,the sails dropped down” is almost onamatopaeic, a repeated “d” sound that forebodes a deathly silence. The silence is accentuated by the repetition of the soft “s” sound:

’twas sad as sad could be
and we did speak only to break
the silence of the sea

The sky is equally hostile ,with a bloody sun just above the ship’s mast:

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

“Hot and copper” sky with a bloody sun is an evocative image. Hot and copper are adjectives reinforcing each other.Copper is copper in color, a visual image and at the same time ,has the property of hotness, implying a tactile image. A bloody sun makes the sky copper -red and copper-hot.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

“As idle as a painted ship/upon a painted ocean” is an image in which nature is made to imitate art. A ship in a painting is good art as still life but not in life without breath or motion.

These classic lines are a fine piece of music, evoking a passage of time that has alarmingly shrunk the drinking water supply on board.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The deepest irony is felt in the scarcity of water surrounded by vast quantities of it not suitable for quenching human thirst.

“water water everywhere : in the first line suggests the depleting water supply in the boards in the midst of plenty of sea water.With no wind in the sails time is running out and no water replenishment is available.

The repeat “water water everywhere” in the third line elaborates on the first line pinpointing water’s unavailability for quenching human thirst.The lines have exquisite lyrical beauty.

The very deep did rot:O Christ
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

The sea is rotting deep below with slimy creatures crawling upon the sea.(devils representing the evil forces) .”O Christ” is an invocation to the Son of God who alone can deliver the mariners from the rotting sea that has a spirit six fathoms below controlling the slimy creatures. The spirit has been following the ship since the albatross had been killed by the mariner.

The albatross is a bird of good omen that brings good luck to a sailing ship . It had followed the ship with a fine breeze that carried its sails. The mariner shot it dead from his cross bow bringing a curse on the ship. Hence the calamity that has overtaken the ship.His mates have held him solely responsible for the curse and punished him by hanging the dead albatross around his neck as if it were the cross. The albatross has come to mean a psychological burden that one bears as a penance for a curse.

“Hope is the thing..” By Emily Dickinson

Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

As an extended metaphor the bird image works beautifully to highlight the characteristics of hope:

Hope is the thing. An abstract idea is compared to a concrete thing.It is easier to describe an abstract idea by giving it a physical existence.

The thing enlarges its puniness by being a mere thing. A poor thing drawing sympathy.

The thing is a bird and has feathers. It is perched in the soul but is capable of flying away from it and/or returning to it. The feathers represent endless possibilities of flying away. Hope needs no realistic basis for existing. It can make survival possible even without a logical basis. It can build escapist paradises for those who are in distress.

It also sings the tune without words.Hope has no words but is just felt in the soul.It sings uninterruptedly because there are no words to bring the song to a finis.

Hope is the sweetest song heard over the hissing storm winds. The bird sings without stop ,over the fiercest gale.Its song has kept many a soul warm and cannot be stopped by a mere storm.

The poet has heard the song in the chillest of the lands or the strangest of the seas. The lone traveller who loses way in a bleak desert or on an endless sea does not lose hope of some day reaching his destination.

Lastly the bird merely sings for the world but never does it extract any price for it.Even in extremity hope does not disappoint us leading us towards despair.It does not ask a crumb of us.

The many hyphens Emily Dickinson typically uses in her poem leave you with a hope that something is yet to come. That is what hope is all about.One more of the extended metaphors the poet uses so beautifully.