Last week we finished the second part of The Waste Land, A Game of Chess. Now, we go on to the third part, The Fire Sermon. Strangely, this marks the return of the water theme in the poem. Remember that the Waste Land laments the loss of culture and education by making a parallel with a desert, parched land.
The first phrase, mentioning the Thames, is borrowed from another poem, Prothalamion by Edmund Spenser. This excerpt of TS Eliot’s poem, even though it mentions a river, gives the impression of an abandoned place. There is no sign of life having been lived, of human presence.
Here is the card. A serene waterscape, a setting sun, not much else in the photograph. Until…
…you lift the photo and there is the mermaid signing her song, calling you to her. (Yes I hurt my finger cutting paper with an exacto knife – the dangers of not having your paper trimmer with you!)
The nymphs are departed and yet they remain, just under the surface of things. Beware their song, for you will get pulled under!
Using a card from the Mexican Loteria is a way of bringing the tarot back into this project as these cards also deal with archetypes. I hope you will come along on this third part of the journey into this epic poem.