Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 501
Here are some quotes from the poem "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" by T.S. Eliot.
Along the reaches of the streetHeld in a lunar synthesis,Whispering lunar incantationsDissolve the floors of memoryAnd all its clear relations,Its divisions and precisions
And through the spaces of the darkMidnight shakes the memoryAs a madman shakes a dead geranium.
The street lamp said,"Remark the cat which flattens itself in the gutter,Slips out its tongueAnd devours a morsel of rancid butter."So the hand of a child, automatic,Slipped out and pocketed a toy that was running along the quay.I could see nothing behind that child's eye.
" . . . The bed is open; the tooth-brush hangs on the wall,Put your shoes at the door, sleep, prepare for life."
The last twist of the knife.
At the end of the poem, the lamp commands the speaker to brush his teeth and prepare to live the life that will start at daybreak. These actions—putting his shoes by the door and brushing his teeth—contrast with his surreal midnight stroll. They are the quotidian activities of everyday.
But the need to go on with life (to continue to carry out these types of activities) is cruel: a "twist of the knife." There are a number of twisted images in the poem, including a twisted branch and a broken spring, and the impact of these images is to suggest that life is twisted. Even brushing one's teeth is another twisted activity.
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