T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot Poems

T.S. Eliot is remembered today as a literary critic, poet, and editor. His poems have had a lasting influence on a generation of writers. Read more about T.S. Eliot.

The Waste Land

by T.S. Eliot

‘The Waste Land’ signified the movement from Imagism – optimistic, bright-willed to modernism, itself a far darker, disillusioned way of writing.

T.S. Eliot's poetry is known for its use of complex language, literary and cultural references, and fragmented style. 'The Waste Land' is one of his most famous works, exploring themes of disillusionment and despair in the post-WWI era.

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

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Ash Wednesday

by T.S. Eliot

Ash Wednesday was the first major poem Eliot wrote after his conversion to Anglicanism. It was published three years after

Because I do not hope to turn again

Because I do not hope

Because I do not hope to turn

Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope

Aunt Helen

by T.S. Eliot

A short and interesting poem, ‘Aunt Helen’ depicts the life and death of the speaker’s aunt. Through the thirteen lines

Miss Helen Slingsby was my maiden aunt,

And lived in a small house near a fashionable square

Cared for by servants to the number of four.

Now when she died there was silence in heaven

Burnt Norton

by T.S. Eliot

‘Burnt Norton’ is the first poem in Four Quartets. Although it was first published in 1936, the poem appeared together

Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future,

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present


by T.S. Eliot

Within ‘Gerontion’ a reader will have to consider war as a major theme as well as religion and political upheaval.

Here I am, an old man in a dry month,

Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.

I was neither at the hot gates

Nor fought in the warm rain

Journey of the Magi

by T.S. Eliot

Journey of the Magi’ by T.S. Eliot describes the terrible conditions through which the Magi traversed to meet the Christ child. 

A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

La Figlia Che Piange

by T.S. Eliot

‘La Figlia Che Piange’ by T. S. Eliot describes a speaker’s attempt to craft the perfect, yet tragic, love story and his obsession with its completion.

So I would have had him leave,

So I would have had her stand and grieve,

So he would have left

As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,

Macavity: The Mystery Cat

by T.S. Eliot

‘Macavity: The Mystery Cat’ is about a fiendish feline character from T. S. Eliot’s light verse collection, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Macavity, the mastermind of criminal plots, knows how to cover his tracks.

Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw—

For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.

He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:

For when they reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there!


by T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot’s poem, ‘Marina’, belongs to the group of poems which have been designated as “The Arial Poems” composed during

What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands

What water lapping the bow

And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog

What images return

Morning at the Window

by T.S. Eliot

‘Morning at the Window’ by T. S. Eliot depicts the impressions of the lyrical voice as he looks outside his window and observes the streets.

Portrait of a Lady

by T.S. Eliot

‘Portrait of a Lady’ was first published in September of 1915 in Others: A Magazine of the New Verse. It


by T.S. Eliot

‘Preludes’ by T.S. Eliot is a six stanza poem that is divided up into four distinct sections. There is not


by T.S. Eliot

In this poem, Eliot exposes the transient nature of love and admits that love is not often found in life, however the poem is an optimistic one because it encourages us to think positively.

Sweeney among the Nightingales

by T.S. Eliot

‘Sweeney among the Nightingales’ (1918), one of Eliot’s modernist poems, first featured the morally degraded, spiritually hollow, and libidinous character of Sweeney, who, in this poem, is seduced by prostitutes in a pub.

Sweeney Erect

by T.S. Eliot

‘Sweeney Erect’ was written and published in 1919 in Eliot’s collection, Poems. It is where the character of Sweeney makes his

The Hollow Men

by T.S. Eliot

‘The Hollow Men’ by T.S. Eliot is rich in symbols and meaningful images. The men are depicted as living dry, barren, and broken lives.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

by T.S. Eliot

‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ is today considered one of T.S. Eliot’s most important contributions to modernism.

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The Naming Of Cats

by T.S. Eliot

‘The Naming of Cats’ by T.S. Eliot describes the names of cats and how they receive them. It is addressed to humans, with the speaker trying to teach the reader more about feline life.

The Song of the Jellicles

by T.S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Song of the Jellicles’ features the characteristics and nature of the Jellicle Cats, made famous by the musical adaptation, Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Whispers of Immortality

by T.S. Eliot

‘Whispers of Immortality’ by T.S. Eliot describes the connection between death and sex and how ultimately death becomes the most important thing in life. 

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