A red-whiskered bulbul and Eliot’s objective correlative


head back calling
in the bright evening
in the neighbour’s olive tree —
‘wee-whit-h-h-h-h-who’ , ‘wee-wee-h-h-h-h-twuk’.

In all the wide chorus,
it was only this particular
that lifted the gloom
I’d been feeling all day.

Come see, I called
but when I looked back
only grey leaves,
the shiny green kalamata
and a bird-shaped hole

Image: William Kentridge, bird (detail) from his exhibition ‘that which we do not remember’ at the Art Gallery of NSW. A red-whiskered bulbul, is an introduced species endemic to Sydney, Melbourne. You can read more about T.S. Eliot’s objective correlative here.


3 thoughts on “A red-whiskered bulbul and Eliot’s objective correlative

  1. I love the space where the bird was. The poetry foundation article on Elliot was wonderful, especially his advice to be lazy, but most wonderful of all was the sound of Elliot reading Prufrock. He gave it such rythme and made me hear again the fatuous rhymes above the dark light of the matter.

    Liked by 1 person

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