Friday, 4 September 2009

Why It's Called 'Up The White Road'

Thomas Stearns Eliot

The American born TS Eliot became a British subject in 1927 at the age of 39. He’d been in country for some time, having studied at Oxford. He wrote part of his famous poem The Wasteland in 1921 while staying at a town called Margate, not terribly far from Canterbury. Apparently visiting the Nayland Rock Shelter by the sea helped him clear his head and get on with writing the poem.

Nayland Rock Shelter at Margate

In the section called What the Thunder Said, he makes reference to one of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions in the Antarctic. Eliot was struck by Shackleton’s account of exploring the island of South Georgia with his men in which he said that he always felt there was one more crewman present than could be counted.

Sir Ernest Shackleton

Eliot’s passage from section five reads:

Who is the third who walks always beside you?

When I count, there are only you and I together

But when I look ahead up the white road

There is always another one walking beside you

I thought this reference was a perfect tie-in for a blog about my adventures in moving from Washington State to the United Kingdom. You, dear far away reader, are welcome to walk beside me on my journey.

Here are a couple links which are possibly of interest:

The Wasteland with notes

Wiki for Shackleton

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews