Poetry is often confusing when at a first glance. T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is no different. However, during closer readings, and while thinking about it, this poem is sad and yet intriguing. One of the longest poems I’ve ever read but since it is divided into sections it becomes a little easier to think of as separate entities making up a whole. The first part of the poem reveals something interesting about the narrator – to him/her April is a month which brings back hurt memories and sadness and winter (and snow) becomes synonymous with forgetting these memories and moving, or pausing, life long enough to forget (or fake forgetting) the memories. Eliot also drops in moments where the reader is forced to think of birth and nurturing of a new life “feeding A little life with dried tubers.” However Eliot also drops in random moments of different languages, peoples actual memories and funny moments amongst the seriousness. Eliot’s reference to the “Hyacinth” girl is also interesting because in Greek mythology Hyacinthus was a mortal man loved by the Greek God Apollo who was killed which is also hinted at in the poem itself “I was neither Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,” because he was immortalized in the flower on which his blood had been spilled.
Eliot’s poem looks at different images and ideas which all appear to relate to death and rebirth, and in some cases, the state between living and death. The imagery he uses is especially striking and take the reader into a separate world with his intriguing and unique images. He adds another image of rebirth with the idea of a corpse being planted and “blooming” into something in the spring. He then switches to imagery about Cleopatra and Marc Anthony which then turns into a conversation about “nothing”. This section of the poem is interrupted by “HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME” which takes the imagery from Ancient Egypt into a typical bar closing conversation. Eliot’s ability to interlink, and jump from, two separate and completely unrelated scenes is fascinating especially since the title of his poem is The Waste Land, which brings to mind the idea that no matter where or when you are death, memories and rebirth follow. We are unable to escape from the waste land of our lives.