The poet always wrote with red ink.
A constant reminder that his blood, the blood that pulsed through the fingers that held his pen, was red, not blue like the rippling sea, or black, like a moonless night…
His blood was red, a bold, vibrant scarlet, ablaze with love or hate, sometimes sizzling with lust, others fierce with rage, but never tepid.
His blood was red like a crimson dawn, or a ruby sunset.
Black or blue was the choice of those who embraced the vulgarity of conformity.
He lifted his pen, growled at the blank page and bled.
T. S. Eliot’s well known quote, in which he compares writing to spilling out one’s soul, using ink instead of blood, prompted me to write this flash.
I’m sure he didn’t use red ink, or blood to write, but he wrote with fierce honesty, strength and beauty.
This post was written in response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch’s weekly #99 word Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is ‘Ink’. Check out other entries or take part yourself!
This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.
Today I offer you April Drops by Luccia Gray, and the first lines of The Waste Land by T. S. Elliott.
Dip your feet
In cool waters, and
Along the shore, because
A drop of your soul
Gushed into my heart,
Flooding the sea with my love.
For Elsa, who treads softly.
The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
T. S. Eliot in 1923, by Lady Ottoline Morrell
These are the tragic and despairing opening lines of the first part of The Waste Land, The Burial of the Dead.
T. S. Eliot was suffering from a nervous disorder when he wrote this poem. However, it was not only the author who was emotionally devastated, so was Europe after the First World War had ended, just a few years before it was published in 1922, almost a century ago.
A generation of young men had been killed or shell-shocked, and civilians were horrified by the destruction caused to families, and the sight of the barren, shell-holed landscape. European culture and civilisation had had failed miserably.
And yet, life must go on. Spring will bring new life to the land where the dead have been buried. The horrific past has become a memory, because the new generations, like nature, are full of strength and desire to move on and recreate a new life and a new world.
It’s a tragic poem, because where there could be hope, there is none for Eliot. He represents a disenchanted and disillusioned generation who will never fully recover from the emotional and physical blows received.
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