Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"So sad the field, so waste the ground"

Briar and fennel and chincapin,
And rue and ragweed everywhere;
The field seemed sick as a soul with sin,
Or dead of an old despair,
Born of an ancient care.

The cricket's cry and the locust's whirr,
And the note of a bird's distress,
With the rasping sound of the grasshopper,
Clung to the loneliness
Like burrs to a trailing dress.

So sad the field, so waste the ground,
So curst with an old despair,
A woodchuck's burrow, a blind mole's mound,
And a chipmunk's stony lair,
Seemed more than it could bear.

From "Waste Land" by Madison Cawein, 1913. The complete poem is here.

T. S Eliot may have borrowed elements of this poem for "The Waste Land." You'll find discussion and links on the matter at Cawein's Wikipedia page.

Drawing by Caspar David Friedrich, c. 1806

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