Prompt #74 The Hollow Men T.S. Elliot


Image: Richard Keeling

The weeks prompt is based on our reading and interpretation of T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men.

It began as a joke

A few idle words

Spread across a page

Intended to excite

Irritate and incite.

Expressions of life

Trivialised behind a nursery rhyme

Repeated as any popular ditty might do

In questioning



The futility of

Inner and outer meanings.

Substance was the query

What is whole?

What is hollow?

We without tangibility

Destined to roam


Meander through

Waste lands

Left ragged



Instead we gleefully

Over turn reality

For fantasy



The true meaning

Clouded as it is

Left to each ones

Miserable determination.

Round and round it goes

Where it ends

No body knows.

So say a prayer

Offered on high

For in the end

Who knows

If it snows or blows?

As long as the bang

Is louder than the whimper.

Written for:

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16 Responses to Prompt #74 The Hollow Men T.S. Elliot

  1. Fabulous, a wonderful answer to the original! 🙂

  2. I really love what you have done here Michael outstanding!

  3. Gabriella says:

    I like the universality of your take, Michael! It could be a definition of writing or other kinds of expression.

  4. JackieP says:

    Nicely done Michael. I’m sure T.S would approve.

  5. J says:

    Ouch — having turned the original ending on its head – and the comparison makes both poems stronger. I like how you picked up on the “for thine is the kingdom” and used a carnival call in your response. Very well done.

    • Ah thank you Jen, it was an excellent prompt to play with. I studied this poem many years ago and it has always fascinated me.

      • J says:

        I studied him in high school but was really too young to appreciate him at the time. Looking back, his poems are so much richer.

        Really like what you did with the prompt. Very thoughtful.

  6. Pat says:

    Absolutely wonderful and a treasure to read as it flows so well.

    So say a prayer/ Offered on high/ For in the end/ Who knows/ If it snows or blows?/ As long as the bang/ Is louder than the whimper.

    Such an impact! Great job Michael 🙂

  7. Bastet says:

    This is a great read .. the lines are staccatos of meaning .. the occasion questions leading evr deeper into thought and enjoyed how your last line took us back to Eliot and yet not quite with you own:

    As long as the bang
    Is louder than the whimper.

    Absolutely enchanting.

Please feel free to comment, I appreciate your thoughts.

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