Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cemeteries of London

Eliot uses a lot of imagery to desribe the deserted, smoggy, and eerie places that his characters are. The specific words he uses usually makes me picture a smelly London city when it is very late at night or early in the morning as a ghost town. The phrases he uses gives me an eerie-superstitious feel when I take them out of context. For example:
Unreal City,  60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, 
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, 
I had not thought death had undone so many. 
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled, 
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.  65
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street, 
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours 
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine. 
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Stetson! 
You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!  70
That corpse you planted last year in your garden, 
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? 
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed? 
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men, 
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!  75
You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

These lines remind me so much of the Coldplay song Cemeteries of London because the setting is the same. It is at dusk and ghosts or people are wandering in ennui. There is definitely an eerie feel in both. This is probably my favorite cold play song and I cant stop thinking about when we talk about the unreal city.

At night they would go walking till the breaking of the day
The morning is for sleeping
Through the dark streets they go searching to see God in their own way
Save the night time for your weeping, your weeping
Singing la la la, la la la ey
And the night over London lay
So we rode down to the river where Victorian ghosts pray
For the curses to be broken
We go underneath the arches where the witches there saying
There are ghost towns in the ocean, the ocean
Singing la la la, la la la ey
And the night over London lay
God is in the houses and God is in my head
And all the cemeteries in London
I see God come in my garden but I dont know what He said
For my heart it wasnt open, not open
Singing la la la, la la la ey
And the night over London lay
Singing la la la, la la la ey
Theres no light over London today


Brooke M. Hathaway said...

KIncy, this is such a perfect comparison! And this is my favorite Coldplay song as well, besides Fix You of course. I think all of the references to ghosts and witches tie into the debate we had in class over whether or not Steson and the other people walking the bridge were actually dead or just emotionally detached. I kind of see the ghosts and witches as a metaphor for people who are spiritually dead. They go out at night to find God, or some type of spiritual/emotional connection.

Brooke M. Hathaway said...

I was looking up more possible meanings to this song and I saw this comment. I have no idea how much of it is true though. I tried to research it a bit, but I didn't any real confirmation. If it is true, this is seriously awesome and props to Coldplay for being even more awesome than I thought.

"o guys, I've got an actual confirmed meaning.
Cemeteries of London is actually a song about the Thames River in London.
During the Victorian era, the Thames actually was in essence a Cemetery, so many people threw themselves into the river as suicide and alongside people were often murdered with their bodies dumped in the river, it was a convenient place to dispose of people. Deaths in the river were so common that they actually had a Thames River Morgue, to house all the dread bodies that washed up from the river or were found.

"We go underneath the arches"
Is also a reference to the Thames, if you've actually lived in London or rode on the river, you'll notice all the arches you have to go under at various points from bridges on the water.

"So we rode down to the river
where the Victorian ghosts pray
For the curses to be broken"
They pray at the river for the curses to be broken (In English folklore it is believed when someone is murdered and placed in a river/space of water that they become cursed forcing them to haunt the location, i.e lady of the lake etc. )

"There are ghost towns in the ocean
The ocean"
Is a reference to where all the spirits end up once they have been washed down the Thames river, once they end up in the North sea, collecting over the years.

While many people think the song isn't directly about spirits, it actually is focused on London and it's victorian past/deaths."

Miranda Martinez said...

I love Coldplay, and I can't believe I haven't heard this song yet! After listening to it, I can see the correlation to The Wasteland. This will most definitely be stuck in my head as we continue reading it.