“unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused”
from A Game of Chess, T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”

Her voice attempted to soothe, unguent–
but it grated against his ears like powdered
sand.  Her eyes pooled like liquid
poured chaotically from a troubled
mind.  The aggregate left him confused.

The Kick-About Prompt this week was an excerpt from TS Eliot’s “The Waste Land”, below.

 II. A Game of Chess

The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Glowed on the marble, where the glass
Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
From which a golden Cupidon peeped out
(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)
Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra
Reflecting light upon the table as
The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
From satin cases poured in rich profusion;
In vials of ivory and coloured glass
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air
That freshened from the window, these ascended
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.
Huge sea-wood fed with copper
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,
In which sad light a carvéd dolphin swam.

My collage is loosely based on Eliot’s poetic images, with help from, among other things, several Restoration Hardware catalogs, which always contain the atmosphere of opulent decay Eliot created with his words.

The poem is a silver shovel, taken from the line quoted at the top, for Muri’s Scavenger Hunt. It’s true, all I eliminated was the word “or”, but it definitely made a difference in the feel of my final poem.

Off prompt for NaPoWriMo day 11.

25 thoughts on “Wasted

  1. I guess this is much an odd sort of abstract personal therapy (in disguise?). Mine is for me. But here we are in the barrel looking for the cork. Looking here I kept thinking, mirror mirror on the wall…

    You are a busy girl. We’re glad for that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, I fell into this one and am not ready to get out yet! Thank you for sharing your collage source, I want to get hold of some of those source books myself. There’s a vibe I’m chasing and you’ve definitely hit that frequency!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sun. The Restoration Hardware catalogs are completely decadent. People know to give them to me if they happen to get them in the mail. I wonder if anyone actually lives like that–I guess somebody must.

      Liked by 1 person

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