What are the Roots that Clutch


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 archduke’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.            
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow              
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,                                  
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only                        
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,                      
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,        
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only                          
There is shadow under this red rock,                                       
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),                        
And I will show you something different from either            
Your shadow at morning striding behind you                         
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;                      
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.                                
        Frisch weht der Wind                                                     
        Der Heimat zu,                                                               
        Mein Irisch Kind,                                                           
        Wo weilest du?                                                               
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;                                
They called me the hyacinth girl.”                                          
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,  
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not                       
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither                                
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,                                       
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.                             
Öd’ und leer das Meer.

–Extract, T.S. Eliot
  The Waste Land

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