Valerie Eliot died on 9th November. She was T S Eliot’s second wife. His first marriage to the unhappy and disturbed Vivienne Haigh-Wood was wretched.
“To her, the marriage brought no happiness. To me, it brought the state of mind out of which came The Waste Land.”
"My nerves are bad tonight. Yes, bad. Stay with me. "Speak to me. Why do you never speak. Speak. "What are you thinking of? What thinking? What? "I never know what you are thinking. Think." I think we are in rats' alley Where the dead men lost their bones. "What is that noise?" The wind under the door. "What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?" Nothing again nothing. "Do "You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember "Nothing?"
He married Valerie, his secretary, when he was sixty-eight and she was thirty. He dedicated his only tender love poem to her.
A Dedication to My Wife
To whom I owe the leaping delight That quickens my senses in our wakingtime And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime, The breathing in unison Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other Who think the same thoughts without need of speech And babble the same speech without need of meaning. No peevish winter wind shall chill No sullen tropic sun shall wither The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only But this dedication is for others to read: These are private words addressed to you in public.
I googled for a copy to paste and found it on a site of readings for weddings. The arcane modernist wrote a poem that anyone who has been in love can understand.
(A piece about the disappearing breed of literary widows here.)