Eliot - History is Drunk

January 31, 2017


What is it we are looking for within the truth?

A comfort a concession we are surely right

About that version soothing best the avid rancour,

As icy roads will overturn a skidding tanker

Our slips, involuntary acidentals,

Our incidents, insoluble credentials

Which make the judgement, carry on concern

Do fleas supply those answers, settlements, for which we yearn?

Here was of late a sentence pre-pronounced

From one man one side of a barbed-wire fence

Strung hostile across minds rehearsing longtime pent

Old memories rearing strong and working acute

Possession on sore hearts hot afterburnt with wranglings

With facts and fears and fancies of a scar

Still weeping; yes ill-sleeping

He spoke less wisely than he knew, he said,

That ‘History stands in danger of rewriting’

Concerned and cumbered spirits will dispute, display

A mind at struggle by wild words they utter

And suffering covers thinkings over with its shutter

So as to blear

Even the finest of the most articulate. A clear

And pure and common signal of conflicts within

Of inner battles waging bearing contumely:

Its cry and standard

Somewhat left-handed was that statement made,

That history stands at ready for rewriting;

Obtuse concern for truth may not waylay what

To remove it to confinement beggars the race

Of time and thought, new-opening information,

The slow labourious fruits of contemplation;

Rather the earth stand still the world stop turning

The germens spill

By which all things obey their natural orders

By which fool men anticipate their horses

To back, and saddle with a weight of interest

And hopeless hope against a Holy Ghost

Who learns all things and spins them to His lowly will

Which is for good

One need not brood

Enough contenders crest the rocky grounds of truth

Bearing their discrete Pilgrim packs ascend the slope

Against time

With all their scope and gift, redoubt propensity

They make a fair and constant wrangle for acclaim,

To own a viewpoint others following fast behind

Or further on above with flags proprietory

Yet make no stake of

As if the earth beneath them be a shifting sand

Accordant with one’s reputation’s shine

A merchandise commodity for climbs

Like Darien

All history fights ghosts’ battles, kills them over again,

Again, again, until the dust well-bitten falls

Subsides and covers over multitudes of palls:

Consorting nothings

Now are the buried dead themselves fought over for our stakes,

Credentials, credibilities, consonance,

Literally dug-up, exhumed, in glasscased puppet shows

Amongst museum-mongers, history’s


Only the God who rules the thunder Perceives, foreknows, what goes hereunder. Under a tree in stormy weather Historians meet to make their blether”

You can also find this poem at our steemit blog.