Dejan Stojanovic – The Strange Love Song of T. S. Eliot

At twenty-six, I was inexperienced;
Still, I knew much about love
In the waste land, reasoning,
It’s not important when you start
Practicing, rather when you start searching;
And I committed myself to finding
It before others even knew it existed, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
My thoughts, my longings, my love
For something that didn’t need naming
In the misty mornings, recognizing
The dew on the petal, alive yet sleepy;
I was a dreamer, I admit, thinking,
April is the cruelest month, flying

Thoughts about some distant teaching,
Seeing invisible in the visible, loving
Wild thoughts making love, searching
To find it; love was a secret hard to decode—
Sacred to me, it was. Students talking
Of business, Dante and Michelangelo;
That was important, yet not so important

In the land where death died long ago, blooming
Roses taught me a lesson, doing
My search for me, wakening
The land where human measures are important
Yet not so important; so I stayed, deserving
A degree from real roses, forgetting
The Ph.D. at Harvard, which for me was waiting

Of course it was not about Michelangelo,
But does it really matter? I saw paintings
And landscapes, dead lands and lands
Alive, knowing it’s more important
To feel than to know. I had it all in my head;
And I stayed where dreaming
Was more important than competing

In the land where the women come and go, talking
Of Sara Bernhardt and Coco Chanel in the Sistine Chapel
And men come and go, talking
Of wars, children come and go, talking
Of chocolate, and they all go, leaving
Not much to think about exchanging
Experiences with feelings, transforming

Experiences into meanings, mixing
Thoughts about love evaporating
Into the yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window panes; 
And in the end I understood April, learning
That April seemed cruel only in the dead land, knowing
That every month is equally paradisiacal and hellish,

Equally paradoxical.

Dejan Stojanovic, Chicago, 1991

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