Revisiting 'The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot in times of Covid
Suresh Pattali remembers the renowned poet's work to create a rendition reflecting the pandemic times
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lotus out of the dead land, mixing
Prayers and tears, stirring
Dull data with monsoons of agony.
Campaigns kept us warm, covering
Earth in fateful pathogen, feeding
Millions of lives with dried dreams.
Summer surprised us, coming over the ghat
With a shower of microbes; we stopped in the hospice,
And went on in twilight, into the Heavens.
Here is the man with three slipups, and here is the fate,
And here is the bearded merchant, and his card,
Which is blank, is something he carries under his topi,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The vaccines. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mr Merchant,
Tell him I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.
Ganga was sunken, and the limp lives
Waited for oxygen, while the funeral plumes
Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
The country crouched, humped in silence.
Then spoke the thunder
I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?
Howrah Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hoi polloi is mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Shantih shantih shantih