Happy Birthday, T.S. Eliot
“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man”
This morning, The Poetry Foundation sent me an e-mail with their featured poem of the day. It was “La Figlia che Piange,” which I translated using my limited Italian ability to mean “The Daughter who Cried” or “Daughter Crying,” by Thomas Stearns Eliot. Today, marks his birthday.
T.S. Eliot was one of the 20th century greatest poets. American by birth – he was born in 1888 in St. Louis Missouri – he became a British Citizen when he turned thirty-nine in 1927. He was complex, brilliant and controversial. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, he is known for some of our best known poems in the English Language: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, and The Hollow Men.
I am celebrating his birthday today with his poem “Cousin Nancy!”
By T.S. Eliot
Miss Nancy Ellicott
Strode across the hills and broke them,
Rode across the hills and broke them —
The barren New England hills —
Riding to hounds
Over the cow-pasture.
Miss Nancy Ellicott smoked
And danced all the modern dances;
And her aunts were not quite sure how they felt about it,
But they knew that it was modern.
Upon the glazen shelves kept watch
Matthew and Waldo, guardians of the faith,
The army of unalterable law.