Inspired by T.S. Eliot – October 1, 2014


we phantoms
of this deadened era
so lost in our brave unnew world
seething in our hyped-up illusions
our hollow distorted dreams
of some yesterday’s ideals
we phantoms
fumble in these nightmarish shrouds
in the twilight …

the kings are in their counting house …
Mary lost her lamb

we empty shrouds
we watch as the dark horses
of the apocalypse rise
proudly reigning
upon our cadavers
raining their death and destruction
in our name, for peace,
all hail the chief!
and avidly we listen
to the town crier’s newspeak wailing
in a parody of news
the fox hunts the hounds

the kings are in the counting house …
Mary lost her lamb

counting up their money
… Mary lost her lamb
– all hail the chief
counting up their money
… the homeless filled the land
– all hail the chief
counting up their money
… another bomber flew
– all hail the chief

in the name of our fathers
and their self-serving ideals
mythical founding fathers
of an avid nation
hollowed empty principles
of a selfish self-serving age

the sun darkens
the sun ceases to shine
another mighty empire crumbles
in the twilight
a cricket chirps.


Linked to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie, where T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” was our inspiration thanks to Jen from Blog It or Lose It!

54 thoughts on “Inspired by T.S. Eliot – October 1, 2014

  1. Youch — all hail the chief as a nursery rhyme, and “faux” news — dreams, illusions, and riding cadavers — you’ve captured the feel of Eliot and given it a very definite 2014 update. And it’s so powerful!!!!`


        • I loved listening to him, and the scratchy old recording- the pauses and intonations and the person who coughed…

          It’s a little funny that we’re having this conversation, because I just read Venus and Adonis for the first time -aloud, to myself, so that I could get a feel for Shakespeare’s language and flow in it.


          • I loved the recording as well … really brought it alive for me.

            Isn’t it so much more alive when you actually read a poem, or even a story aloud?

            Liked by 1 person

          • It really is. I also write novels, short stories, essays, and flash fiction – and I often read them aloud when editing.

            I read my Shakespearean time travel novel to my kids when they were 11 and 8. They fell in love with the characters, I heard the mistakes much more clearly, and we had a good deal of discussion about anachronisms, the theory of time travel, Shakespeare and his times, plot devices, and how the creative process works for each of us. My daughter even created art based on the story while I was reading it!

            It was valuable as a writing tool, but it was also so much more. =)


          • Sounds great! Over the last few months I’ve been writing mostly haiku and waka poetry and have now created a blog specifically for that. I’ve been working my way back into western poetry the last couple of weeks .. I also write flash fiction and short stories. No novels to my name 🙂 Kids are such a great audiance … if you can get them interested you know you’re on to something!

            Liked by 1 person

          • My kids are an easy audience. They’re homeschooled, so we spend lots of time together, and I know what they like. And, not being in school all day, they’re not worn out with hearing adults read or talk to them. And they enjoy Shakespeare, so that was a plus.

            My novels are all still-unfinished. But I am moving them forward….


      • I don’t think I’ve read any Eliot since high school – but, being a near lifelong Trekkie, I knew the last line by heart – and, now that I think of it, there might have been an episode named “Hollow Man”….I might need to look that up.


          • I might be thinking of the Next Generation episodes “Tin Man” and “Measure of a Man”. It wasn’t an original series episode, and it wasn’t Enterprise, which I’ve been watching over the past year and a half (having been busy making people and not having cable when it was new)…

            Watching Cats is on my long, long list of things to do. We have an Old Andrew Lloyd Webber CD around here that the kids loved when they were small, and it had a couple of tunes from Cats. And there’s a book about it somewhere around here, too…


            Isn’t it amazing what a poem can lead to? =)


          • I’m sure there was probably more than one episode that made reference to Eliot … maybe even one in DS9 or Voyager. Anyway the subject must have been covered!

            Cats is fabulous and if I remember correctly there was a full viewing on YouTube if they haven’t taken it down or you might try streaming …

            Poetry is amazing and gets the juices to flowing! I do so agree with you.

            Liked by 1 person

          • If it was on DS9 or Voyager, I probably didn’t see it. I watched a little of DS9, but Voyager didn’t catch me. Enterprise, on the other hand…I absolutely love it!

            I am planning on doing the Star Trek Chronology Project in 2015, though, so, by the end of the year, I may have the answer and find a new fondness for the series that weren’t my favorites.

            I’ll check Cats out, if I can find it, this winter – maybe with the kids – they might like it too!


          • The Chronology sounds interesting .. I loved every phase … of Star Trek … I think it was probably in the Next Generation though … maybe it even had to do with Data. The kids will love Cats.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I seem to remember it as being a Data episode, too…

            DS9 happened at a busy place in my life- that might have had something to do with my never really getting into it.

            With Voyager, I found their Vulcan….umm, not right. I’ve got a deep passion for Vulcans. Some actors can be Vulcan, and others can’t, to my mind, and this one was a can’t.

            But, then gain, I was very skeptical of that Quantum Leap guy as a starship captain, and I was sure they only cast a sexy female Vulcan for one reason, and she’d be flat and one-dimensional…

            Sometimes I’m wrong. T’Pol is my favorite Vulcan of all, and that goofy engineer I thought was going to just annoy me turned out to be the heart of the ship….and what do you know? Scott Bakula was spot-on as a starship captain – kinda a cross between Kirk and Picard, with a healthy dose of beagle and angst and water polo…

            I could be wrong about Voyager, too…

            The Chronology starts with Enterprise (more T’Pol! more Trip!), and tries to put all live-action episodes and movies into order. I’m looking forward to it, on so many levels!


          • Love your enthusiasm! Tu’voc wasn’t bad once you got into the series .. actually liked him very much. I didn’t think I’d like Enterprise either … too close to home. But it’s really very interesting, and as you say, as always with Star Trek, on many levels. Happy Trekking!

            Liked by 1 person

          • If I remember correctly, his body language didn’t feel Vulcan to me. But I as in my 20s, then, and I was considerably more judgmental than I am in my 40s…so I’m wondering if I’ll like him better this time around.

            If not, I’ve still got Spock and T’Pol – and they’re enough to keep me fascinated for a lifetime! =D


          • Well … following spock it’s hard to imagine any other sort of Vulcan, but I decided I guess that he, being half human was strictker than even the most orthodox vulcan … and that there might be many other types of Vulcans running around in the galzxy – anyway as time moves on in Voyager, he settles down into his role.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Spock definitely tried to be wholly Vulcan most of the time – I’m getting ready to write a fan fiction novel on his Starfleet Academy life – but his body language was more active and open than the other Vulcans we met in TOS. Less open than a full human’s; more than a full Vulcan’s – the way I would expect it to be for someone who was half of both.

            T’Pol had that sensuality right from the beginning – but her body language started off very ‘quiet’ and Vulcan (except, always, where a certain Chief Engineer was concerned!), but shifted with her time among humans and the various traumas she experienced, As Season 3 progressed, she started to look like she was being pushed around by the force of her emotions – brilliantly acted by Jolene Blalock, and I never get tired of watching it. That stays, to some degree, for the rest of the series. And she and Trip are delightful to play with – they jump into my head and write their own stories!

            I am willing to give Tuvok another try, even if his body language still doesn’t translate for me. IDIC, right?


          • Actually, this book is part of a duology series – the other half is an original fantasy series, and the two weave through one another. It’ll be the ninth one I’ve drafted, and I hope to have a draft done by the end of November.

            I’ve been posting excerpts from The IDIC Romance, my Trip and T’Pol fan fiction, on Wednesdays…a plan for next year is to begin submitting them to a fan fiction website yet to be named.

            I’ll be posting about The Earth Doth Move (the NaNo project) throughout the month, so stay tuned.


  2. Absolutely stunning!

    It’s amazing the number of responses of such power and beauty this prompt has inspired!

    You poem flows so well – and the choices you made in tribute are so incredibly evocative – I felt like I was witness to an epic battle long ago and yet brought back to reality here. So incredibly moving – definitely one of my faves that you have penned.

    Brilliantly well done 🙂


    • Thank you very much Pat .. I agree, this prompt was highly inspirational and I think the emotions it stirred up were something we all needed. I’m happy you enjoyed my take on the poem.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like how you incorporated the nursery rhymes – they have so much unknown history.
    Telling of their own political failings attempting to teach.

    And yet I am reminded that while the cricket chirps there are some very good souls.
    Every once in a while I read about some random act of kindness – The generous tipper, the child who is ill, yet with their remaining time raise funds for others with the same illness, and all the countless un-named volunteers.

    (Thank you for your visit to my post on this prompt and your kind words.)


  4. Pingback: Second-Serving Sunday: The OctPoWriMo Edition! | shanjeniah

  5. Pingback: Second-Serving Sunday: The Poetically Plotting Edition | shanjeniah

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