Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.
TS Eliot–“East Coker”
In Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, TS Eliot gave us a Mystery Cat, in Macavity, an Original Conjuring Cat, in Mr Mistoffelees, and a Curious Cat, in the Rum Tum Tugger. Now it turns out that he also dreamed up a Gourmet Cat, in Cumberleylaude, the feline star of a previously unpublished cat poem who has a taste for “salmon, duck, or expensive French wines”.
The gourmet cat was of course Cumberleylaude,
Who did very little to earn his dinner and board,
Indeed, he was always out and about,
Patronising the haunts where he would find,
People are generous and nice and kind,
Serving good food to this culinary lout!
With care he chooses his place to dine,
And dresses accordingly, if he has time,
Tasting all that Neville Road offers,
With never a thought for anyone’s coffers!
The best is only fit for the best he opines,
When he wants salmon, or duck, or expensive French wines.
Until one day when he will find,
All of the doors closed and the windows blind,
Then monocle and cane he will have to discard,
And realise that hunting isn’t so hard,
That mouse is tasty and starling sweet,
And that Neville Road is a bounteous street!
“To believe in the supernatural is not simply to believe that after living a successful, material, and fairly virtuous life here one will continue to exist in the best-possible substitute for this world, or that after living a starved and stunted life here one will be compensated with all the good things one has gone without: it is to believe that the supernatural is the greatest reality here and now.”
― T.S. Eliot
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
TS Eliot–The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous;
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
TS Eliot–The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer
were a very notorious couple of cats.
As knockabout clown, quick-change comedians,
tight-rope walkers and acrobats
They had extensive reputation.
They made their home in Victoria Grove–
That was merely their centre of operation,
for they were incurably given to rove.
They were very well know in Cornwall Gardens,
in Launceston Place and in Kensington Square.
They had really a little more reputation
than a couple of cats can very well bear.
If the area window was found ajar
And the basement looked like a field of war,
If a tile or two came loose on the roof,
Which presently ceased to be waterproof,
If the drawers were pulled out from the bedroom chests,
And you couldn’t find one of your winter vests,
Or after supper one of the girls
Suddenly missed her Woolworth pearls:
Then the family would say: “It’s that horrible cat!
It was Mungojerrie–or Rumpelteazer!”
And most of the time they left it at that.
Macavity’s a ginger cat, he’s very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he’s half asleep, he’s always wide awake.
Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square—
But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there!