The Sugar Quill
Author: H. P. King  Story: The Wasteland Mainstreet  Chapter: Default
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Notes - This poem came as a result of my study of T.S. Elliot's 'The Waste Land'. Thus his work would probably give the reader a much better understanding of the meaning of my poem than I could attempt to offer.

Disclaimer - The Prison of Azkaban is the creation of J.K. Rowling, and the poem is loosely based on her work.

 


From T. S. Elliot's 'The Wasteland'

["Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
"]

Part 1. The Tomstone Fire.

The superhuman crew, they built
a fire on main street. And everybody's left expecting rain.
If you can hear me my friend you'd better take my advice:
do not cross the red line. One cannot be too careful these days.

The beginning is the end
is the beginning. Pass through you fortune-telling lady to
discover that massive and starless oblivion
of circumstance. Azkaban:

the final retreat

of death's smoke-filled
haze. The invisible
graveyard.

Part 2. The Temple of Shadow.

Out if this stony rubbish would grow a labyrinth of malcontent.
But Ezekial on his long-time desert salvation,
He does not see the temple of the shadow that resides in the deep, dirty prison.
All he sees is broken images. Everything is broken

and you're left drowning in the flood.
"Fear death by water!" screams Madame Sosostirs.
I do not find salvation in your pack of cards
(I find your prison hole to be a breeding ground
of incandescent thought.)

Down knockturn alley
the thieves and the frighteners play their little

game of chess, leaving you with your disease.
And outside Cinderella is sweeping up
the remnants of yesterdays dream.

Part 3. Portrait of a dying man.

They bought a new prisoner in the other day.
Young and innocent looking.
What was his crime?
I sized him up, feeling unlikely.
Did I remember the face? Probably
an old image from schooldays. A million faces,
all universal. I don't know,
I just don't know anymore.
To remember everything is insanity inside these walls.

His construction revealed to me
he had seen brighter times: a young boy
playing under the sun with time to test each new role.
Playing at friendship. He was innocent then.

I do not find these memories in his mercuy eyes
but in the lines of his face. For his eyes, they are a vacuum:
his quality seems almost inhuman
like some strange aura.
Perhaps the sentence of the court

hit the trigger
and in a mad frenzy he
ricocheted the whole length of his alpha life
to drain the source of his infection.

He is a wasteland of lost hopes
and unworthy sacrifice. Who would see the hanged man
in his glance? These places I have described
with their colourful personalities; they are a product
of his imagination. The fire burning inside him
reflects his ever-changing state of conscience.
The superhuman crew feel his presence,
the great freeze, leaving shadows in the air.
It excites them.


General liner notes.

Line 1 - The superhuman crew are a reference to Nietchze, and I equate them with the dementors of Azkaban. The fire on main street is revealed later in the poem.
Line 2 - 'expecting rain' - to me this is a reference to 'Fear death by water' from Elliot's poem.
Line 4 - this line is a direct translation from T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland: 'One must be careful these days.'
Line 6 - the fortune-telling lady is reminiscent to me of Madam Sosostris.
Line 14- In the desert God addresses Ezekial, telling him that he will break the idols (images) erected by the Isralites.
Line 24- A Game of Chess is the title of the second section from the wasteland
Line 25 - Cinderella is obviously a reference to the fairy tale. It reminds me of Bob Dylan's Desolation Row.
Line 35 - This line reminds me of a line from Brian Friel's play 'Translations.'
Line 50 - The Hanged Man also appears in Elliot's poem and I feel he is symbolic of sacrafice.

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