September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday T. S. Eliot

DN reminded me this morning that it is T. S. Eliot's birthday.  So here, read this (or listen to Mr. Eliot himself reading it) the first poem Eliot ever had published:

La Figlia Che Piange
O quam te memorem virgo

Stand on the highest pavement of the stair—
Lean on a garden urn—
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair—
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise—
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.

So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.

She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon's repose.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:25 PM

    i love this poem. it was the first Eliot poem i memorized. happy birthday, Thomas!