A bit about TS Elliot.
Thomas Stearns Eliot, OM, was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and "one of the twentieth century's major poets". Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States, to a prominent Boston Brahmin family, he moved to England in 1914 at the age of 25, settling, working, and marrying there. When T. S. Eliot moved to London, he came under the influence of Ezra Pound, who convinced him of his literary talent and helped him publish several poems
Morning at the Window
They are rattling breakfast places in basement kitchens,
And along the trampled edges of the street
I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids
Sprouting despondently at area gates
The brown waves of fog toss up to me
twisted aces from the bottom of the street,
And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts
An aimless smile that hovers in the air
And vanishes along the level of the roofs
This poem is quite significant I think in what was happening at that time in history. He speaks of basement kitchens and breakfast plates making me think of hard working poor people catering for the more wealthy. The 'trampled' edges makes me think if a dark and dirty street also highlighted by the 'brown waves of fog toss up to me' so the streets are dirty and the air is foggy. I would without knowing imagine this poem is set during the industrial revolution where work was hard, people were poor, factory life was distasteful and no one seemed to be very happy - apart from the maybe the rich who everyone worked for, but still may have had their own issues during this time of our history. The 'damp souls of housemaids' shows he is sympathetic/empathic towards the working women and is aware of them, this notion is also suggested with the line 'sprouting despondently at area gates' gives me the image of an unhappy housemaid expressing her unhappiness verbally, the line 'twisted faces from the bottom of the street' further impresses on me the misery of the people around him at that time. One of the people is said to be tearful with muddy skirts. How did the skirt get muddy? Due to work and to dirty streets and overall drudgery. 'An aimless smile that hovers in the air' reminds me of how depressed people look, kind of vacant and bereft of the will to even bother smiling properly. The smile has no direction as it is not really felt, just a mask or just an effortless position to hold ones face in. And then the 'smile' just floats off into the air via the 'level of the roofs'.
This is one of my favourite TS Elliot poems because its fairly simple but so descriptive and so telling of how life was at that time. We can look at the facts in history but its writers who really show us how peoples moods and feelings were at that particular time. Reading this poem I can actually feel the despair and misery of these housemaids and understand their angst. His words give me the image of a dirty London street with a heavy fog stinging my eyes. I see lost souls with no hope caught up in the drudgery of their existence.
I confirm this is my review and I have no researched anyone else's reviews.
If you are interested in any of his further works you can find them here.
I would love to hear your views on him. I really like his work.