Our new narrator is walking around London, surprised at seeing so many living/dead people. He imagines them as zombies going through their daily life. Remember the poem was written in 1922, just after the First World War. Generations were lost, others traumatized. How do you, as a society return from that?
What if, in that zombie crowd, you recognize your old comrade, your brother in arms? What if you have a shared history with him, one that is not necessarily stellar? What if your only subject is to talk about the dead, those you killed, those who tried to kill you?
In my rendering of the story, these two men have buried a comrade, one of their own, in hopes of seeing him brought back to life.They still see him, their friend, alive and well and cannot let go of his memory. Here he is, as seen by them in their minds, pushing up flowers, still living.
I wanted to draw his skull on the photo, but I find this man so handsome and his portrait so telling, that I could not do it. His eyes say a lot to me and I didn’t want to cloud their message. Who knows if he made it through alive or not.
With this card, we have finished exploring the first part of The Waste Land, The Burial of the Dead. Next week. we start A Game of Chess.