Prompt #74 The Hollow Men T.S. Elliot

Scarecrow Face

Richard Keeling

This week’s prompt comes to you courtesy of Jen at Blog It or Lose It!  Originally I had planned to use it next week as I had already prepared this week’s challenge but I got too excited and wrote my entry so lol Your job is to read the poem below (I read it multiple times it is fabulous and packed with meaning) and analyze/interpret it your own way.

 

The Hollow Men

By: T.S. Elliot

 

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy

I
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

20 comments

  1. Oh how exciting to see this here! So glad you used the poem as a prompt. So many layers of meaning — and such a powerful ending. Always loved this poem. It’ll be great to see what everyone is inspired to write! And — thanks for the mention too. 🙂

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  2. The truly amazing wonder of this prompt is that it can be used as inspiration time and time again. Clearly, there is so much that can prompt multiple directions and ideas – as can be seen by the so many interesting replies.

    Wonderfully creative idea – kudos to Jen @ Blog It or Lose It! and to you too! 🙂

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  3. This is a fantastic post .. and the poem, as suggested must be read a couple of times there’s so much imagery so much feeling. Thanks Jen for a fantastic inspirational poem!

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