SWEET BOOZE IN ELIOT'S "EAST COKER"? *

By Carlos Cardona

 

If Eliot's experience-derived knowledge cannot be trusted,
If such patterning be lies,
If every moment brings such ever-new possibilities,
Along with only the "gist" of what we have been
That the past cannot be trusted,
Then how would we ever know love if we saw it?

If his "lifetime burning in every moment" could sear the pain
Of incompleteness from my eyes,
That loss of friends that once shined so true,
Of love that would last forever,
Then why do I see only absence in their stead,
Wondering if such loss can only be experienced by me,
Those others cannot feel the way I do!
They certainly do not act as if they did.
If this be cured, then my anger and my loneliness
Will not drive love away from me.

O Thomas you were a hip one but you have failed!
In "East Coker" you showed us the problem with just
Thinking and feeling, but you could not tell the solution.

Lead me my Atman from the desperate shores of intellect,
To delight of this your game/plan,
To this your representative's loving arms?
For without this, without my Dark Lady,
All Yoga, all philosophy and aid from mystic quarters,
Still seems to fall apart for me like powdered snow newly fallen,
Perhaps I am too weak, terminally chagrined,
Or have bitten off way more than I can chew.

And so this bitterness still reigns,
Like sweet booze on my "enlightened" barroom floor.
Thank you my Irish poets,
And cheers.

 

*Read T.S. Eliot's "East Coker"