“For you know only a heap of broken images.”


Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on this day in 1888. Thomas Stearns Eliot died at age 76 in London, England. He came from a prominent family. His grandfather founded Washington University in St. Louis. The reason I add this fact is that I was accepted into “Wash U” and was highly interested in matriculating there, but my parents chose the University of Florida instead. (That’s another story for another time).

A graduate from Harvard, nearly receiving his Ph.D. if not for World War I, Eliot furthered his studies in England. Became a banker turned poet, playwright, publisher, essayist, and critic. Receiving both the Order of Merit and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. He is credited with impacting English poetry into its current form and helping to establish English literature as an academic discipline.

Eliot posthumously influenced Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical Cats with his light poetry, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939). Although I am not a fan of cats, I am a fan of the playful sociology shared in the poems. Instead of humankind’s two-facedness, the cats have three names: an everyday name, a one-of-a-kind name, and the last name is only known (by the cat) but never confessed, “ineffable effable effanineffable, deep and inscrutable singular Name.” You’ve got to appreciate the artistry!

In his most famous work, The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot wrote, “For you know only a heap of broken images.” I do believe our social media pages will be the heap of broken images our generation will leave behind one day. Not one perfect person among us. Inevitably all our images will be heaped into a pile of items to be deleted in order to make room for more of the broken images we call “selfies.” Proving nothing is new on the earth. There are only new ways of revealing our frailties.

Images: T.S. Eliot (1982). Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Harcourt. ISBN 0-15-168656-4.

On a lighter note, and in this last week of my favorite month of September, I ask for the fun of it, are you a dog or a cat person? And why?


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