I’m not very good at this kind of thing, and it’s all a little shadowy, mumbled and lispy.
But it remains my favourite poem. No matter how many times I read it, it still makes me want to declaim it out loud and perform, and no matter how many times I read it aloud, I can still find new rhythms and meanings and emphases. To get a version even that dreadful, I did about fifteen takes, each one had a different best bit, different tones and variations.
‘It is impossible to say just what I mean!’
That line stood out for me on the last reading. I wonder what it was the the 19 year old Eliot couldn’t quite get out. What was it he danced around, unable to face?
That’s great poetry right there.
Even if he was a miserable anti-semitic fascist. At least he did this.
Full text here.