THE WASTE LAND
(from a manuscript recently discovered in the stuffing of a sock puppet)
“Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam
I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD
I take it back, April is not the cruellest month,
But June, breeding
Slugs out of nowhere, geeze
Where do they all come from, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, they say
Not much snow, and April, so hot, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised you, didn’t it, dude?
Everything looked fine, the tomatoes so tall
Lettuce so lush, until, with a shower of rain, we swarmed
And went on in sunlight, into the Salatgarten,
And ate radishes, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Schnecke, sondern Nacktschnecke, echt hungrig.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, 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 of that beet, whose branches are
So very tasty? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, devoured beets,
And the dead row of peas 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
This is where we hide, nice and cool, during the day
When your shadow at evening rises to meet you;
We emerge, slimy flashmob, today’s the lettuce’s turn.
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?
Heulst salzig’ Tränen
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth slug.”
– Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Our bellies full, and trail slimy and glittering
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
I thought I would burst
Od’ 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. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Floating belly-up in Schwechater. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, we’ll skip her
Kids read this blog
Here is the man with saucers, and here the ale,
And here is the desperate gardener, 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 flat beer.
I see crowds of people, reading about this on Twitter.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.
Under the foggy dew of an Austrian dawn,
A crowd flowed over Mig’s vegetable garden, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each slug fixed his eyes upon a saucer full of beer.
Flowed up the rim and down into it, kersplash
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 “Yo, Mig!
“You who planted me the red beets and peas!
“That lettuce you planted last week in your garden,
“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this week?
“Or have we sudden slugs disturbed its bed?