02 T.S. Eliot - Gloucester HarborWalk
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02 T.S. Eliot
The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men.
The sea has many voices,
Many gods and many voices.
The salt is on the briar rose,
The fog is in the fir trees.

T.S. Eliot Excerpt from the Four Quartets, 1941.

Growing up, T.S. Eliot summered on Eastern Point for some 20 years. Eliot learned to sail a cat boat here and navigate the difficult coast, handling “a sheet with the best in Gloucester.” Enamored by the language of mariners and their tales, he evoked the coast of Cape Ann in his best work, Four Quartets, which was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in literature.

More about T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) wrote The Wasteland in 1922. Eliot is widely considered one of the twentieth century’s major poets. Below is a portion of an excised draft “Death By Water” in The Wasteland that draws on Cape Ann:

Kingfisher weather, with a light fair breeze,

Full canvas, and the eight sails drawing well

We beat around the cape and laid our course

From the Dry Salvages to the eastern banks.

A porpoise snored upon the phosphorescent swell,

A triton rang the final warning bell

Astern, and the sea rolled, asleep.

Three knots, four knots, at dawn; at eight o’clock

And through the forenoon watch, the wind declined;

There after everything went wrong.

TS Eliot Recites 3:00
Digital Eliot Wows! 6:38
Eliot As Birdwatcher

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Eliot As A Boy on Eastern Point

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