Thomas Stearns Eliot

(1888-1965 / Missouri / United States)

Thomas Stearns Eliot
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Eliot was born into the Eliot family of St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Henry Ware Eliot (1843–1919), was a successful businessman, president and treasurer of the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company in St. Louis; his mother, born Charlotte Champe Stearns (1843–1929), wrote poems and was also a social worker. Eliot was the last of six surviving children; his parents were both 44 years old when he was born. His four sisters were between eleven and nineteen years older than he; his brother was eight years older. Known to family and friends as Tom, he was the namesake of his maternal grandfather Thomas Stearns.

From 1898 to 1905 Eliot was a student at Smith Academy, a preparatory school ... more »

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Comments about Thomas Stearns Eliot

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  • Gold Star - 69,158 Points Fabrizio Frosini (11/17/2015 5:32:00 AM)

    The Waste Land was written by T.S. Eliot in 1922
    Here is the 1st of its 5 parts:

    The Waste Land


    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 5
    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, 10
    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, 15
    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, 20
    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, 25
    (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. 30
    Frisch weht der Wind
    Der Heimat zu,
    Mein Irisch Kind,
    Wo weilest du?
    “You gave me hyacinths first a year ago; 35
    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, 40
    Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
    Öd’ und leer das Meer.

    Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
    Had a bad cold, nevertheless
    Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, 45
    With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
    Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
    (Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
    Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
    The lady of situations. 50
    Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
    And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
    Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
    Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
    The Hanged Man. Fear death by water. 55
    I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
    Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
    Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
    One must be so careful these days.

    Unreal City, 60
    Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
    A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
    I had not thought death had undone so many.
    Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
    And each man fixed his eyes before his feet. 65
    Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
    To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
    With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
    There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Stetson!
    You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 70
    That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
    Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
    Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
    Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
    Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again! 75
    You! hypocrite lecteur! —mon semblable, —mon frère! ”

  • Gold Star - 11,360 Points Frank Avon (4/2/2015 3:06:00 AM)

    PLEASE tell me why I cannot add any of Eliot's poetry to my list of favorite poems!

  • Rookie David Yelland (11/8/2013 5:20:00 PM)

    A wonderful poet who's poetry has changed my life

  • Rookie Jared Midwood (5/8/2013 2:03:00 PM)

    The Waste Land is the most important piece of American literature ever published. It is Eliot's tour-de-force, a stunningly realistic portrayal of the downfall of western civilization. It was the first poem to require pages and pages of footnotes! I think it contained 50 or more references to classic literature and music...

  • Rookie - 3 Points Kimberly Kastner (4/22/2006 2:32:00 PM)

    I got his book Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats for my b-day a couple years ago. All the poems in that book are so cute! My favorite one is 'Cat Morgan Introduces Himself.' I liked how Eliot changed the spelling of some of the words to show Morgan's accent.

  • Rookie - 3 Points Kimberly Kastner (4/22/2006 2:29:00 PM)

    I got his book Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats for my b-day a couple years ago. All the poems in that book are so cute! My favorite one is 'Cat Morgan Introduces Himself.' I liked how Eliot changed the spelling of some of the words to show Morgan's accent.

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Best Poem of Thomas Stearns Eliot

Ash Wednesday


Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing ...

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