Summer 1945 • Vol. VII No. 3 Poetry |

Essay on Rime: Confusion of Personal Systems (From Part III)

By nineteen twenty the thin ice of beliefHad cracked and given way. The figure-skaterOf rime had sunk beneath the lake, and artTook on a deep and submarine aspect.The corpse, the crawling rat, the bones, the wraithArrived in sequence; a whole world lay wreckedAnd inundated. Prufrock filled with griefAnd whimsical mockery walked along the beach,Envied the crab and heard the mermaid sing.He toyed with death by drowning, fascinated    Poetry ofLike Arnold by the ebbing Sea of Faith.      disbeliefNor did the watcher understand his plightIn its true character, for The Hollow Men,The Waste Land and The HippopotamusAll seemed the obituary of the spiritFor whose demise the worldly celebrantsMade this macabre music. What we knowIn retrospect is that the prophet’s eyesWere turned toward the cathedral and the pastAs toward a promise. But in the interimBetween his deep and masterly despairAnd the overt fulfillment of his faithHis word was our poetic law. It isIronical that th

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