Let me wait, still and alone, When I'm ragged skin and twisted bone, Like carrion amid the waste land; Let me wait, alone in the deserted streets, My shock and missed heartbeats At empty gas-lit nights in cold single sleeping bag beds And dustbin lid dinners with rubbish buffet spreads: An empty heartbeat stalking me with ringing reverb Repeating in this stinking suburb That amounts to underwhelming wonderment... I hear your question: "Who is it?" Have no fear. He will commit... In the shadows Spectres slowly flit Like some ghostly hypocrites. The greying mist heckling the waning sickle moon, The bluish twisting mist howling at the waning sickly moon, As if its howl could penetrate all four corners of the heavens It masquerades as something from a special afternoon In uptown cafes, in best bib and tucker, drinking With uptown company stirred like silver teaspoons Mixed up in some summer malady long ago That raised its muzzle into canine lamenting tune. And as I remain, fixed, a statue in mime, I'll let out the howling cry - as if it will be heard - A howl that may twist the moon's sickly spirit; As if any howl that's mimed can ever be heard, Ape the undeclared message silently conferred; I'll mime the waiter, waiting, deferential, antiquate, And mime the listener hearkening to busy hands Flashing out the transparent feast upon an empty plate. Miming me miming you, And miming out all the many actions Leading to the miming out of dissatisfactions, Before the waiter smashes all the plates. In the shadows Spectres slowly flit Like some ghostly hypocrites. And if I mime in my recline Will I ponder "why I wait?" and "Why I mime?" - Waiting offers plenty grounds to rake regret With martyrs singing misery in duet, The waiting can afford to criticise and demonise That howling at the moon they so despise, A howling that they never utilise, Remaining constant until the relieving sunrise. So shall I wait In eternal silent debate? In my waiting I will mime The clowning and the frowning I create. For in that waiting and creating I have lived a life: Lived to shape my daily slog of air plays alone To blindly shuffle out all the shapes I've thrown. I heard me questioning myself to the afterlife, Asked many things I already dismissed; Asked myself: Do I still exist? And though I wait and create I live a life Even without the sense of belonging. And in belonging I stand transfixed When carving in the wall another notch with my knife. So how can questioning myself be fixed When asking myself the question I am longing; Asking myself: Did I ever exist? And I want to wait and create to live my life - A life that could get answers when he arrives And breathe into me a breath that revives. I suppose that's why I insist On wondering if we exist? And looking into the eyes of another Could this be a brother? Could this be the other? Well, its true, then. That I have howled aloud at the moon And sat and listened to the echo of the void Of me alone, waiting, waiting. Waiting. I should have mimed that too But that would never do. And even now the waiting continues, Propped up on the hope for answers Ailments... Disease... Cancers... I lie out like a slowly dying man That knows the answers deep inside And knows that no one answers anymore, No one will come knocking on my door. But hope still gnaws emptiness more And evokes that drowning howl, guttural, feral Leaving me and the moon in great peril. I will wait on still for the man with all the knowledge, The one that has definitely been to college, To put me out of my misery. Was the misery worth it? Miming out all the mistakes I made? Miming out a great internal debate That I threw up later on a plate And served it up, like a faithful waiter, Who waits just in reach, just to serve, Just to wipe your chin, as you deserve, And wait patiently for you to finish, Clear up the mess as you diminish And say was it worth it? Was it worth the pain? Was the waiting, creating and debating, worth it? Could I have done something better? After all these long years of yearning for knowledge, I could have left, I could have travelled far. But now I'm propping up a bar, An empty bar without a drink, Without a glass or a space to think? Without the waiter, waiting for me To take a well deserved cup of tea, To slowly brew within the pot, thinking: Was it worth it? Was it worth the pain? The pain is such a constant thing, Holding me on a course to new thoughts And new ideas, and new questions, Questions without answers, until he comes And offers many other suggestions. And offers directions out of the slums And offers many different reports About my conducts on matters of life And how I wasted it waiting. Waiting... Waiting... I would have been better painting... But I am waiting. How will I know when he is here? I will probably be asleep then, and miss his arrival. He could have already been, I was too concerned with my survival To notice he didn't want to talk to me... I should have known it when the moon didn't return my howl. I should have known it was inevitable as the passing hours And see his passing in the dying flowers. I should have known the answers to my questions lie Deep in my stopped heart turning my blood from red to brown Till the answers come flooding and I drown.
T. S. Eliot, British poet, essayist, playwright and critic, died yesterday in 1965.