On passing the lunch line in front of Holy Apostle’s on 9th Avenue I heard someone in line ask T.S. Eliot “What are the roots that clutch …” There he stood, sandwiched between a spindly boy wearing two pairs of pants and two lipsticked ladies sharing three violet wool gloves. The once handsome poet rolled his still blue eyes then made a facial expression that was perhaps a swoon or maybe gas. It was hard to know if he was listening or had heard the question he himself asked in 1922. In an orderly way he closed the gap left by the boy ahead who stepped aside to smoke while dragging his shopping cart along. In the cart was a basket; in the basket nestled a white pillow without a pillowcase. I heard the church volunteer archly utter (over the sound of car horns and trucks) “Hurry up, please, it’s time!” since the line had stopped moving. No one but me (a Champagne Socialist if ever there was one) seemed optimistic. I was and I had no doubt the line would soon move forward taking Eliot and everyone else to the nourishing lunch (probably not soup) awaiting all. It was a glorious day during which autumn leaves continued to fall; a day with no subplot.
“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 ….” [quotations from “The Waste Land and Other Poems” by T.S. Eliot, 1922]