Beautiful Imagery in Eliot’s The Waste Land

Do you love beautiful imagery like we do? We’ve compiled some of the most tempting imagery from Eliot’s The Waste Land. Come read our picks!

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T.S. Eliot sitting in a chair with a cigar next to a cover of The Waste Land.

The Waste Land, a poem by T.S. Eliot, is breathtaking and full of gorgeous lines that tempt the senses. If you love imagery that appeals to your mind, you’ll appreciate these lines we’ve picked out from the poem. Come read our choices and see if you agree!

Section One

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water.

A desolate landscape with cracked earth, a gray sky, and a dead tree.

This quote comes from about halfway through the first section. The allusion of some kind of desolate land with broken architecture, dead trees, and no water is just delicious (I could eat it right up!).

Section Two

In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,

Flung their smoke into the laquearia,

Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.

Huge sea-wood fed with copper

Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,

In which sad light a carvéd dolphin swam.

A dark background with a candle in focus, the wick lit with a big flame.

This second quote comes from the first part of section two. The beginning part of this section is filled with amazing imagery, but these few sentences stand out. The depiction of the fire and the flames and the sad light which is cast by these flames is wondrous and has the reader imagining the scene in their head.

Section Three

A rat crept softly through the vegetation

Dragging its slimy belly on the bank

While I was fishing in the dull canal

A brown rat eating seeds on top of a rock.

This quote is from the third section of the poem. The use of the word “slimy” just creates a visceral reaction from the senses and has the reader imagining a slimy rat. This one was too good not to include. I mean, a slimy rat?

Section Five

Here is no water but only rock

Rock and no water and the sandy road

The road winding above among the mountains

Which are mountains of rock without water

A sandy desert road surrounded by green vegetation and brown mountains.

This quote comes from the fifth section. Similar to one of the quotes above, this part just allows the reader to imagine the scene of a lonely landscape with mountains and a sandy road. While it is a simple description, using words like “only” and “sandy” fortifies the beautiful imagery.

Section Five

In this decayed hole among the mountains

In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing

Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel

There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home.

It has no windows, and the door swings,

Dry bones can harm no one.

A decrepit-looking church with big windows, rugs, and an empty entryway.

This quote also hails from the fifth section. The words “decayed hole” are just beautiful together. This quote is full of amazing imagery that entices the senses, such as “faint moonlight,” “tumbled graves,” and “empty chapel.” This is just an appealing section and comes close to the end of the poem.

Those were just some of the beautiful words from Eliot’s poem. While it is a notoriously difficult poem to analyze, anyone can appreciate the tempting imagery without having to know the context of the poem. Did you enjoy any of our choices?

Check out some more articles on T.S. Eliot here.

If you want to read the full text of The Waste Land, click here.