Clareified

Where does the good go

Children of the corn (by guest blogger Tito)

I had to read The Hollow Men in high school, and didn’t think about T. S. Eliot again for a long time.

Then I decided I wanted to read The Waste Land, so I got a collection of his stuff. I started with the shortest things, because I’m lazy- this was the first one I read.

I love it so, so much.

It’s hilarious and oozes contempt and suggests to me one of those weird moments where time freezes and you see everything in your life as if for the first time. And did I mention that it’s short?

I love Prufrock and some of the others, but this is the one I keep coming back to.

The Boston Evening Transcript
by T. S. Eliot

The readers of the Boston Evening Transcript
Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn.

When evening quickens faintly in the street,
Wakening the appetites of life in some
And to others bringing the Boston Evening Transcript,
I mount the steps and ring the bell, turning
Wearily, as one would turn to nod good-bye to Rochefoucauld,
If the street were time and he at the end of the street,
And I say, “Cousin Harriet, here is the Boston Evening Transcript.”

Tito is a Grammy nominated pie genius. Bet you didn’t know they give those out for pies, did you? You’re welcome.

21 Responses to “Children of the corn (by guest blogger Tito)”

  1. Dawn Summers Says:

    The best thing about short poems is that you can read them again and again! I do love cadence of good poetry. I’ve NEVER in my life seen this poem! And I thought I read a lot of Eliot. Learn something new erryday!

    I also love it. Though, I think I’m way more cousin Harriet than I am the narrator. :)

    Um…am I supposed to know who Rochefoucauld is? Cause I totally do then…

  2. Dawn Summers Says:

    Oh, also #Imnothere

  3. tito Says:

    Heh, you’re definiitely not supposed to know who Rochefoucauld is, though I now do because of Wikipedia and this poem. He was a seventeenth century French writer and nobleman who published epigrams and memoirs, supposedly of a cynical nature (I haven’t read any.) I think that as obscure references in T. S. Eliot poems go this is pretty benign, compared to the Latin, ancient Greek, freaking Sanskrit, and everything else; and also considering that he was writing for over-educated snobs like himself almost a hundred years ago- I suppose his audience at the time stood a better chance of knowing who this guy was. I first read those lines as something like, “as tired as if I were staring through the entirety of time- past, present and future- at some pretentious twat whom I was expected to be courteous to.” Knowing who the twat was has not changed that reading appreciably.

  4. Pdov Says:

    Loved this poem as well. I too like short poems better, I get their meaning a little quicker. #truestory

    I like the snark a lot, and the first 2 lines of the 2nd stanza are awesome.

    Also can we all agree that no one under 60 should be named Harriet.

  5. Dawn Summers Says:

    What about the spy?

  6. Pdov Says:

    Except the spy, she was cool, BUT only her.

  7. Pdov Says:

    Actually, I never read the spy, so not sure about how really cool she is. But I think in naming her Harriet there was a certain gravitas/geekiness the author was trying to convey. #andnowIhavegiventhemattertoomuchthought

  8. Alceste Says:

    Dawn: Time to give up on the hiatus and just get back to blogging! As for the poem, I don’t share the love (it’s not that I dislike it or think it’s bad, it just doesn’t do much for me.)

  9. Mary Says:

    I think one of the reasons I love T.S. Eliot is that he seems to be a big influence on one of my fav Genesis cds, Selling England by the Pound. Whenever I listen to it, I always think of Eliot.

    I can’t wait for one of your guest bloggers to choose The Waste Land as for Poetry Wednesday.

  10. Dawn Summers Says:

    no way is Angela reading that.

  11. Dawn Summers Says:

    @Alceste You will continue to get the awesome Dawn story of the day delivered to your handheld device and you will like it!

  12. Mary Says:

    Oh, so that’s what that was. I didn’t realize I had subscribed to the “awesome Dawn story of the day” rss feed.

    Where’s today’s story?

  13. Dawn summers Says:

    The minute something awesome happens, you’ll know! It’s the most awesome RSS feed ever.

  14. Tae Says:

    I can’t read the words “handheld device” without giggling.

    Entertaining poem.

  15. Alceste Says:

    Unsubscribe.

  16. Dawn Summers Says:

    You never subscribed. How can you unsubscribe?

  17. tito Says:

    The Boston Evening Transcript loves Alceste, whether the feeling is returned or not.

  18. Dawn Summers Says:

    Then it should text him everyday, just so he knows fer sure.

  19. VinNay Says:

    Wait! I thought I was the only one getting the Awesome Story of the Day! Do you also harass everyone else about how the Bills suck? Are all your texts distributed to the masses? I now expect 2 awesome stories every day.

  20. Dawn summers Says:

    LOL! No, no…I only mock the Bills for your benefit.

  21. Pearatty Says:

    I love this first stanza:

    The readers of the Boston Evening Transcript
    Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn.

    My first picture was of a bunch of suited wall street types standing on a subway platform all reading the paper. Then I figure it also refers metaphorically to the way the public gets all worked up one way and then the other about whatever the media is pushing that week. So, you know, relevant.

    The rest of the poem doesn’t really speak to me though. Not sure I get as much out of it as others here seem to have. Also not sure he’s saying Rochefoucauld is a pompous ass, seems more like he’s bummed that instead of spending his evening partying with Rochefoucauld, he has to spend a dull evening chatting with cousin Harriet.

    And I think I might like the name Harriet.

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