Homework Assistance
 Your teacher given you an impossible task? In search of divine inspiration to help you along? 

eMule -> The Poetry Archive -> Forums -> Homework Assistance


Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Enlite (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 04, 2007 05:47AM

I need some help on this poem and yes I searched this site thoroughly beforehand.

Does someone know the rhyme pattern in the first stanza of Preludes and why Eliot may have used it? This rhyme pattern is supposed to be a "sophisticated and modern variation on an old form."

Cheers.


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Enlite (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 04, 2007 05:50AM

Here's the first stanza:

THE WINTER evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps 5
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots, 10
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 04, 2007 12:19PM

Not one I can remember having seen, sorry. I guess you could say it looks something like a sonnet, but there are only 13 lines, rhyming,

a b c b d d e f e f e g g

Individual lines show 46 feet with,

4 4 2
4 4 2
4 4 2
4 4 4 4

Again, nothing rings a bell, other than to say his choices are not unpleasing to the ear. With the two long lines and the shorter ones intermingled, one could also speculate a sapphic stanza, but quite a stretch there as well.


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Enlite (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 04, 2007 06:58PM

Well, I've read that the stanza is in iambic tetrameter. Is this correct? But I don't know if that is a rhyme pattern.

Like you, I also thought perhaps a sonnet minus 1 line. But I was thinking more a Spenserian Sonnet because there's a quatrain followed by 7 lines followed by a couplet. The 7 lines are almost 2 quatrains and within these lines, the rhyme continues. Only problem is is that the end-rhyme has to be interspersed among all 3 quatrains not just within the last 2 quatrains.

Are these 13 lines considered a stanza or rather, a cantos? Maybe the stanza is only the first 4 lines, the first quatrain?


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 05, 2007 12:20PM

Sounds to me your thinking is along the right lines. The stanza is usually shown exactly that way, with 13 lines, so is probably how the author intended it. All together, that is, not broken into quatrains or some other pattern. The long lines are iambic tet, the short ones iambic dimeter (with a headless iamb on line 3 - [at/it's] six o'clock). The iambic tet is not the same as a rhyme pattern, though - it is the rhythm, or meter used. The rhyme pattern means the matching sounds at the ends of the lines (down/...ways/clock/days + wraps/scraps ...). Note that all endings are also of one syllable (masculine) - not particularly important, just more to notice about it.

Dennis Hammes has an interesting reference on his Prosody pages, apparently a similar pattern that he calls a Fishhook Sonnet. Search for /En Apxh/:

[scrawlmark.org] />
Or, search Dry Salvages here:

[scrawlmark.org]


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Enlite (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 06, 2007 05:29AM

Thanks Hugh. I'm thinking there's also some terza rima, which are interlinked tercets.


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Enlite (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 09, 2007 04:22AM

Hey Lisa,

Since you seemed to figure out the Crozier poem, are you familiar with the "rhyme pattern" that Eliot uses in the first stanza of "Preludes"?


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: MoonBabe (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 10, 2007 01:17AM

Hey Enlite---good thing I have insomnnia . . .

let me look at the rhyme scheme some more, but I'm not exactkly popular here for my disliking rhyme in general.

That's not to say I don't consider ancient poetry valid, it's merely not my thing per se.

Anyhow---did you type the poem in correctly?
Maybe ya missed a line like Hugh implied---a 14th line, perhaps?

HEY---what song was the line "the burnt out ends of smoky days" used in also?
It wasn't CATS was it? Yeah maybe it was; that would make sense then.

It's some adulterated form I guess or maybe he was stoned and goofed:

A
A
B
B
C
D
C
D
C
E
E

Maybe he flunked English---the numbers seem to be asides.



THE WINTER EVENING SETTLES DOWN
With smell of steaks in passageways. (Six o’clock.)
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps (5)
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots, (10)
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.


I'll look it up in Jack's book and get back if I find anything.

Lisa


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Linda (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 10, 2007 11:55AM

I don't know if it's significant, but in my copy of Eliot's "Collected poems 1909 - 1962" Faber, 1963, there is a blank line at position 13.

The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.

And then the lighting of the lamps.

Could you call this a sonnet with one line of silence? Hugh?

And then I went and looked at my copy of "The selected poems" 1954 (1972 reprint) where the blank line is not there. Southam's Student's Guide says that the original title on the manuscript is "Preludes in Roxbury"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2007 12:03PM by Linda.


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: MoonBabe (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 10, 2007 12:30PM

Here's the whole poem---I think it needs to be addressed in its entirety.
I think Elliot is merely playing around with rhyme, to suit himself.
It sure isn't a sonnet when you look at it this way.

The poem shows how dismal people's lives were (still are?), but the rhyme
seems to make the poem's tone less bleak. Sometimes we need music to color the gray, yes, no? Maybe that's what Andrew Lloyd Webber saw in Elliot's work---the music and so he composed to some of the words.

Preludes

I

The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o'clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.

II

The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.

With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.

III

You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters,
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed's edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.

IV

His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o'clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

*
Partsof this poem remind me of Laux's, "Shipfitter's Wife" where she shows the blue-collar man's rough, greasy hands---in Elliot's poem, we see callused feet and "soiled" hands---this person hasn't showered.

Why does he use the word "fancies" though? That's odd to think that poverty is whimsical. Hmmm---thinking. Pretty grim view of life. It's nice that the speaker finds some laughter, or at least implies that to survive, ya gotta laugh.

Lisa


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 11, 2007 12:07PM

Fancies I took as a pun on sparkling jewelry and fanciful notions. Most readers see the gist as a comment on a ho-hum or poverty-ridden way of life, but that isn't totally clear since no average Joe's family eats steak for dinner every night.

Could it possibly be just the author's purpose to make the rhythm, meter and rhymes 'meander' much the same way as his ideas do?

Some interesting discussion here:

[puisipoesy.blogspot.com] />
And some interesting comparison lyrics from the musical Cats:


Daylight

See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses whither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day . . .

Midnight

Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

Memory

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Every street lamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters
And the street lamp gutters
And soon it will be morning

Daylight

I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning

Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is

Look
A new day has begun


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: MoonBabe (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 11, 2007 04:58PM

Well Hugh, you do make a good point about the steaks, but back then, maybe steak was common---it didn't necessarily have to be "good" steak . . maybe the grissly sections. Who knows.

I read Elliot's, Cats, years ago so I'm not up to snuff on that material at all, but I do know that song above is when the very old, once-beautiful fluffy cat sings, close to her death.

All in all, I agree that the message is a mixed one.

Take care,

Lisa

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2007 04:58PM by MoonBabe.


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: Enlite (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 11, 2007 06:44PM

Well, I talked to my assigned tutor for this distance course, and turns out I was reading too much into rhyme pattern.

The first stanza is a variation on the sonnet, the fact of which was established a while ago. But then she talked something about Eliot being modern and adopting Blakian ways. She wouldn't go much further into that.

So thanks everyone.


Re: Preludes T.S. Eliot
Posted by: MoonBabe (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 11, 2007 10:10PM

This is interesting---this is the cat that the song Hugh posted is about---apparently, one named Grizabella" who doesn't seem to be one of Elliot's, in his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

*

Memory is the showstopper song from the musical Cats sung by the character Grizabella, a one-time glamour cat who is now a shell of her former self. The song is a nostalgic remembrance of her glorious past and a declaration of her wishes to start a new life. Sung briefly in the first act and in full near the end of the show, Memory is the climax of the musical, and by far its most popular and well-known song.

The music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The lyrics, written by Trevor Nunn, were based on T. S. Eliot's poem, "Rhapsody on a Windy Night".

Lloyd Webber, fearing that the tune sounded too similar to a work of Puccini, asked his father's opinion. According to Lloyd Webber, his father responded, "It sounds like a million dollars!"

It is arguably Lloyd Webber's biggest hit, inspiring thousands of renditions. Notable artists who have made the song popular include Elaine Paige (the original Grizabella), Barbra Streisand, Betty Buckley (first to play Grizabella on Broadway), Barry Manilow, and Petula Clark.

The song's climax is in the key of D-flat major, the composer's favorite.

Often incorrectly referred to as Memories, (Barbra Streisand's rendition did appear on her 1981 semi-greatest-hits album titled Memories), the correct title is the singular Memory.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_%28song%29"




Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This poetry forum at emule.com powered by Phorum.