Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Character of the week: T.S. Eliot

Author: Paulo Coelho

Midnight, not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory, she is smiling alone
In the lamplight the withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days, I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Every street lamp seems to beat
A fatalistic warning
Someone mutters and a street lamp gutters
And soon it will be morning

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life and I mustn’t give in
When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory, too
And a new day will begin

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
A street lamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning

Touch me, it’s so easy to leave me
All alone with my memory of my days in the sun
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is
Look a new day has begun

Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965) was an Anglo-American poet, playwright, and literary critic, arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. The poem above was taken from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, a book that inspired the musical “Cats”.The lyrics, written by Cats director Trevor Nunn, was based on T. S. Eliot’s poems “Preludes” and “Rhapsody on a Windy Night”

@ Paulo, I appreciate where your coming from when you say that the song you quote in the blog is not ‘betraying’ TSE’s poem ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’. I do not agree that it summarises it. TSE’s sentiments are far removed from the song’s sentiments. It is unfair to readers and to TSE’s lifework to present Memories, a far inferior work, as part of this great poet’s writings, as many posters here have now assumed.

UPDATE II Chéree Möller- Ackermann
@ Ciaran and Paulo Coelho – Eliot’s poetry was first criticized as not being poetry at all. Many critics attacked his practice of widespread interweaving of quotations from other authors into his work.Other critics have condemned the practice as showing a lack of originality, and for plagiarism.Eliot wrote in The Sacred Wood: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”
I therefore think he wouldn’t have minded SOMETHING DIFFERENT to be done with his poem like in CATS and also in the song MEMORIES and the movie YENTL. I think he might just have been VERY IMPRESSED. He might also have finded these contradictions in views exiting as he was used to be contradicted in print by CS Lewis often. He would have loved our critisism and seen it as a tribute to him.
Long live TS Eliot in our hearts

Subscribe to Blog

Join 17K other subscribers

Stories & Reflections


Paulo Coelho Foundation

Gifts, keepsakes and other souvenirs