T S Eliot La Figlia que Piange

La Figlia Che Piange                   T. S. Eliot, 1888 – 1965

O quam te memorem virgo

Stand on the highest pavement of the stair—

Lean on a garden urn—

Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair—

Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise—

Fling them to the ground and turn

With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:

But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.

 

So I would have had him leave,

So I would have had her stand and grieve,

So he would have left

As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,

As the mind deserts the body it has used.

I should find

Some way incomparably light and deft,

Some way we both should understand,

Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.

 

She turned away, but with the autumn weather

Compelled my imagination many days,

Many days and many hours:

Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.

And I wonder how they should have been together!

I should have lost a gesture and a pose.

Sometimes these cogitations still amaze

The troubled midnight and the noon’s repose.

 

Questions to consider:

  1. The poet is presenting the first few lines as if he is a director instructing an actress on her actions.
    What is the effect of this with regard to the intention of the poet?
  2. What is implied in the words “fugitive resentment”?
  3. How does Eliot, throughout this poem, emphasise the interpretation of the reader as being just as or even more important that the poet’s interpretation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: englishinspirationblog

Teacher, reader, dreamer, writer, traveller, wife, mother. I love books, wine, dancing, film, nature, and all things creative, thought provoking and inspirational.

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