The hyacinth girl -neither living, nor dead

Being the immediate continuation of “Still life and still death” -with a small gap of four verses…

“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;

They called me the hyacinth girl.”

—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,

Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not

Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither

Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

T.S. Eliot (1888–1965) – The Waste Land, 1922 (I, 37-41)


The name Hyacinth, or Hyacinthus, is derived from Greek; it was used for a plant by Homer (ὑάκινθος – hyakinthos), the flowers supposedly having grown up from the blood of a youth of this name accidentally killed by Apollo the god, his lover.

In this literary myth, Hyacinth was a beautiful boy and he was also admired by the god Zephyros (West Wind). Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus and somehow it struck the boy, who fell and died. A variation in the tale makes Zephyros responsible for the death of Hyacinth; jealous that he preferred Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo’s discus off course to kill him.

When Hyacinth died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid’s account, the tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower’s petals with the sign of his grief.

(Alternatively, the “Bibliotheca” of Pseudo-Apollodorus says that one Thamyris was Hyacinth’s lover -and also the first man to have loved another man.)

[Also dedicated to the memory of my sister, who was fond of T. S. Eliot -and entirely inspired by her physical absence nowadays – Li Fontrodona]

(The header picture is my own, edited by me. The last two images are public domain, and taken from the Wikipedia)

No unauthorised copying or redistribution. All Rights Reserved. Registered & Protected  49DI-EM0U-WACZ-TA99



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