Fear in a handful of dust…


There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

~T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from The Waste Land, 1922

Amidst the refuse of The Waste Land, buried in the rubble of hopelessness and of meaninglessness is a small sense of hope; A shelter from the storm. This secret place of solace seems to be something that is hard to find in this vast, desolate waste land. Yet we are encouraged to seek it out.

We must step out of all the despair; remove ourselves from the chaos and destruction to be able to see what exactly is happening on the inside of the waste land. To remove our self from the world, so that we might gaze upon it from a whole new perspective. Not as our self and the rest of the world, separate entities; but as our self, part of this world. Belonging to it; as though we are a limb upon an immense body. Our actions rippling across our body, reshaping it, moving it and changing it.

It is no waste land, devoid of life, emotion and meaning. As one side of a coin cannot exist without its opposite, we exist in a world of paradox where “life at its highest moments of meaning and intensity resembles death.”1

1. Brooks Jr., Cleanth. “The Waste Land: An Analysis.” Eliot 185-210.
2. Bartleby.com, The Waste Land
3. Yahoo! Voices, Analysis of a Passage from T.S. Eliot’s the Waste Land