Hollow men

“The dream crossed twilight between birth and dying.”


TS Eliot’s words call to mind Macbeth’s brooding soliloquy,

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow | Creeps in this petty pace from day to day | To the last syllable of recorded time; | And all our yesterdays have lighted fools | The way to dusty death. | Out, out, brief candle! | Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, |That struts and frets his hour upon the stage | And then is heard no more.| It is a tale | Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,| Signifying nothing.”


Perhaps life is indeed a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”? Consider the muck of hubris and lies in which our leaders now wallow like Orwell’s villainous pigs. Vainglorious, self-serving, arrogant, greedy, duplicitous: their lives signify nothing. The shabby sideshow of their blue light brigades, their thick-necked body guards wielding automatic weapons, the rampant corruption, the brazen hijacking and looting of a fledgling democracy… did we simply exchange knaves in 1994?

sound and fury… 

TS Eliot’s The Wasteland provides a wealth of metaphors which I cannot but apply to our politicians:

“We are the hollow men | We are the stuffed men | Leaning together | Headpiece filled with straw.| Alas! Our dried voices, when we whisper together | Are quiet and meaningless | As wind in dry grass.”

As I think of this “dream crossed twilight”, this “way to dusty death”, the British television detective drama Endeavour is streaming on the screen before me. Having solved a particularly gruesome case, Detective Inspector Thursday says to Endeavor,

“Go home, put on your favourite music as loud as it will play, and remember that every note is something the darkness cannot take away from you.”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5)

Twilight. Shadow. How difficult sometimes to see a way forward!

“Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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