Market Forces sinned mortally in the 1920s*
when they boosted the timid patrician, Eliot,
at the expense of the bold physician, Williams.
Thus, America’s windshield is transformed
into a rear-view mirror, where objects never
are as they appear to the naked eye.
T. S. Eliot walked backwards through life –
contrary to the path of sun-worshipping civilisation,
he moved ever eastward, away from newborn
Missouri, and youthful New England, clear
across the sea to ancient Oxford, where non-
American subjects know their places.
A century later, we know that Mr. Eliot
lacked the sort of hands-on training
found readily due east of England.
Though dons and tutors are good for some,
for the lessons needed by young Tom,
the right professor was la madame.
*Eliot’s The Waste Land was published in 1922; William Carlos Williams published Spring and All in 1923.