Please enjoy this presentation of the Wasteland by T.S. ELiot. All images are computer generated by Nicolas Bertagnolli using Dalle-2.


the burial of the dead

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 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

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 arch

my cousin’s

he took me out on a sled

and i was frightened

he said



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

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

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

frisch weht der wind der heimat zu mein irisch kind

wo weilest du

you gave me hyacinths first a year ago

they called me the hyacinth girl

—yet when we came back


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

looking into the heart of light

the silence

oed’ und leer das meer

madame sosostris

famous clairvoyante

had a bad cold

nevertheless is known to be the wisest woman in europe

with a wicked pack of cards


said she

is your card

the drowned phoenician sailor

those are pearls that were his eyes


here is belladonna

the lady of the rocks

the lady of situations

here is the man with three staves

and here the wheel

and here is the one

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

i see crowds of people

walking round in a ring

thank you

if you see dear mrs


tell her i bring the horoscope myself: one must be so careful these days

unreal city

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


short and infrequent

were exhaled

and each man fixed his eyes before his feet

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

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


hypocrite lecteur

—mon semblable

—mon frère


a game of chess

the chair she sat in

like a burnished throne

glowed on the marble

where the glass held up by standards wrought with fruited vines

from which a golden cupidon peeped out

another hid his eyes behind his wing

doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra

reflecting light upon the table

as the glitter of her jewels rose to meet it

from satin cases poured in rich profusion

in vials of ivory and coloured glass unstoppered

lurked her strange synthetic perfumes



or liquid—troubled

confused and drowned the sense in odours

stirred by the air that freshened from the window

these ascended in fattening the prolonged candle

flung their smoke into the laquearia

stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling

huge sea

framed by the coloured stone

in which sad light a carvéd dolphin swam

above the antique mantel was displayed as though a window gave upon the sylvan scene the change of philomel

by the barbarous king so rudely forced

yet there the nightingale filled all the desert with inviolable voice and still she cried

and still the world pursues

jug jug to dirty ears

and other withered stumps of time were told upon the walls

staring forms leaned out


hushing the room enclosed

footsteps shuffled on the stair

under the firelight

under the brush

her hair spread out in fiery points glowed into words

then would be savagely still

my nerves are bad tonight



stay with me

speak to me

why do you never speak


what are you thinking of

what thinking


i never know what you are thinking


i think we are in rats’ alley where the dead men lost their bones

what is that noise

the wind under the door

what is that noise now

what is the wind doing

nothing again nothing

do you know nothing

do you see nothing

do you remember nothing

i remember those are pearls that were his eyes

are you alive

or not

is there nothing in your head

but o o o o that shakespeherian rag it’s so elegant so intelligent what shall i do now

what shall i do

i shall rush out as i am

and walk the street with my hair down


what shall we do tomorrow

what shall we ever do

the hot water at ten

and if it rains

a closed car at four

and we shall play a game of chess

pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door

when lil’s husband got demobbed

i said— i didn’t mince my words

i said to her myself

hurry up please its time now albert’s coming back

make yourself a bit smart

he’ll want to know what you done with that money he gave you to get yourself some teeth

he did

i was there

you have them all out


and get a nice set

he said

i swear

i can’t bear to look at you

and no more can’t i

i said

and think of poor albert

he’s been in the army four years

he wants a good time

and if you don’t give it him

there’s others will

i said

oh is there

she said

something o’ that

i said

then i’ll know who to thank

she said

and give me a straight look

hurry up please its time if you don’t like it you can get on with it

i said

others can pick and choose if you can’t

but if albert makes off

it won’t be for lack of telling

you ought to be ashamed

i said

to look so antique

and her only thirty

i can’t help it

she said

pulling a long face

it’s them pills i took

to bring it off

she said

she’s had five already

and nearly died of young george

the chemist said it would be all right

but i’ve never been the same

you are a proper fool

i said


if albert won’t leave you alone

there it is

i said

what you get married for if you don’t want children

hurry up please its time well

that sunday albert was home

they had a hot gammon

and they asked me in to dinner

to get the beauty of it hot— hurry up please its time hurry up please its time goonight bill

goonight lou

goonight may


ta ta



good night


good night

sweet ladies

good night

good night


the fire sermon

the river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf clutch and sink into the wet bank

the wind crosses the brown land


the nymphs are departed

sweet thames

run softly

till i end my song

the river bears no empty bottles

sandwich papers

silk handkerchiefs

cardboard boxes

cigarette ends or other testimony of summer nights

the nymphs are departed

and their friends

the loitering heirs of city directors


have left no addresses

by the waters of leman i sat down and wept

sweet thames

run softly till i end my song

sweet thames

run softly

for i speak not loud or long

but at my back in a cold blast i hear the rattle of the bones

and chuckle spread from ear to ear

a rat crept softly through the vegetation

dragging its slimy belly on the bank

while i was fishing in the dull canal on a winter evening

round behind the gashouse

musing upon the king my brother’s wreck and on the king my father’s death before him

white bodies naked on the low damp ground and bones cast in a little low dry garret

rattled by the rat’s foot only

year to year

but at my back from time to time i hear the sound of horns and motors

which shall bring sweeney to mrs

porter in the spring

o the moon shone bright on mrs

porter and on her daughter they wash their feet in soda water et o ces voix d’enfants

chantant dans la coupole

twit twit twit jug jug jug jug jug jug so rudely forc’d


unreal city under the brown fog of a winter noon mr


the smyrna merchant unshaven

with a pocket full of currants c



london: documents at sight

asked me in demotic french to luncheon at the cannon street hotel followed by a weekend at the metropole

at the violet hour

when the eyes and back turn upward from the desk

when the human engine waits like a taxi throbbing waiting

i tiresias

though blind

throbbing between two lives

old man with wrinkled female breasts

can see at the violet hour

the evening hour that strives homeward

and brings the sailor home from sea

the typist home at teatime

clears her breakfast

lights her stove

and lays out food in tins

out of the window perilously spread her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays

on the divan are piled at night her bed stockings



and stays

i tiresias

old man with wrinkled dugs perceived the scene

and foretold the rest— i too awaited the expected guest


the young man carbuncular


a small house agent’s clerk

with one bold stare

one of the low on whom assurance sits as a silk hat on a bradford millionaire

the time is now propitious

as he guesses

the meal is ended

she is bored and tired

endeavours to engage her in caresses which still are unreproved

if undesired

flushed and decided

he assaults at once

exploring hands encounter no defence

his vanity requires no response

and makes a welcome of indifference

and i tiresias have foresuffered all enacted on this same divan or bed

i who have sat by thebes below the wall and walked among the lowest of the dead

bestows one final patronising kiss

and gropes his way

finding the stairs unlit

she turns and looks a moment in the glass

hardly aware of her departed lover

her brain allows one half

when lovely woman stoops to folly and paces about her room again


she smoothes her hair with automatic hand

and puts a record on the gramophone

this music crept by me upon the waters and along the strand

up queen victoria street

o city city

i can sometimes hear beside a public bar in lower thames street

the pleasant whining of a mandoline and a clatter and a chatter from within where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls of magnus martyr hold inexplicable splendour of ionian white and gold

the river sweats oil and tar the barges drift with the turning tide red sails wide to leeward

swing on the heavy spar

the barges wash drifting logs down greenwich reach past the isle of dogs

weialala leia wallala leialala

elizabeth and leicester

beating oars

the stern was formed

a gilded shell

red and gold

the brisk swell

rippled both shores

southwest wind

carried down stream

the peal of bells

white towers

weialala leia wallala leialala

trams and dusty trees

highbury bore me

richmond and kew undid me

by richmond i raised my knees supine on the floor of a narrow canoe

my feet are at moorgate

and my heart under my feet

after the event he wept

he promised a ‘new start

’ i made no comment

what should i resent

on margate sands

i can connect nothing with nothing

the broken fingernails of dirty hands

my people humble people who expect nothing

la la

to carthage then i came

burning burning burning burning o lord thou pluckest me out o lord thou pluckest



death by water

phlebas the phoenician

a fortnight dead

forgot the cry of gulls

and the deep sea swell and the profit and loss

a current under sea picked his bones in whispers

as he rose and fell he passed the stages of his age and youth entering the whirlpool

gentile or jew o you who turn the wheel and look to windward

consider phlebas

who was once handsome and tall as you


what the thunder said

after the torchlight red on sweaty faces

after the frosty silence in the gardens

after the agony in stony places

the shouting and the crying

prison and palace and reverberation

of thunder of spring over distant mountains

he who was living is now dead

we who were living are now dying

with a little patience

if there were rock

and also water

and water

a spring

a pool among the rock

if there were the sound of water only

not the cicada

and dry grass singing

but sound of water over a rock

where the hermit

drip drop drip drop drop drop drop

but there is no water

who is the third who walks always beside you

when i count

there are only you and i together but when i look ahead up the white road there is always another one walking beside you gliding wrapt in a brown mantle

hooded i do not know whether a man or a woman —but who is that on the other side of you

what is that sound high in the air murmur of maternal lamentation who are those hooded hordes swarming over endless plains

stumbling in cracked earth ringed by the flat horizon only what is the city over the mountains cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air falling towers jerusalem athens alexandria vienna london unreal

a woman drew her long black hair out tight and fiddled whisper music on those strings and bats with baby faces in the violet light whistled

and beat their wings and crawled head downward down a blackened wall and upside down in air were towers tolling reminiscent bells

that kept the hours and voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells

in this decayed hole among the mountains in the faint moonlight

the grass is singing over the tumbled graves

about the chapel there is the empty chapel

only the wind’s home

it has no windows

and the door swings

dry bones can harm no one

only a cock stood on the rooftree co co rico co co rico

in a flash of lightning

then a damp gust bringing rain

ganga was sunken

and the limp leaves waited for rain

while the black clouds gathered far distant

over himavant

the jungle crouched

humped in silence

then spoke the thunder da datta: what have we given

my friend

blood shaking my heart the awful daring of a moment’s surrender which an age of prudence can never retract by this

and this only

we have existed

which is not to be found in our obituaries

or in memories draped by the beneficent spider

or under seals broken by the lean solicitor

in our empty rooms


dayadhvam: i have heard the key

turn in the door once and turn once only

we think of the key

each in his prison

thinking of the key

each confirms a prison

only at nightfall

aethereal rumours

revive for a moment a broken coriolanus


damyata: the boat responded

gaily to the hand expert with sail and oar

the sea was calm

your heart would have responded gaily

when invited

beating obedient to controlling hands

i sat upon the shore fishing

with the arid plain behind me shall i at least set my lands in order

london bridge is falling down falling down falling down poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina quando fiam uti chelidon—o swallow swallow le prince d’aquitaine à la tour abolie these fragments i have shored against my ruins why then ile fit you

hieronymo’s mad againe