Poet: Thomas Stearns Eliot
Dates: 26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965
Nationality: American (naturalised British)
Title of Poem: Death by Water from The Waste Land
Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
Brief Biography: Eliot was one of the twentieth century’s leading poets. Born in America he took British nationality in 1927. Eliot himself acknowledged his birth place to have influenced his poetry along with living in England, however he also was influenced by contemporary French poetry. Eliot’s first marriage was an unhappy one which the poet concludes led to his poem The Waste Land.