"Mistah Kurtz, he dead."1

"A penny for the old guy,"2

The Hollow Men
by T.S. Eliot

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us--if at all--not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


1 - from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

2 - a reference to Guy Fawkes and Guy Fawkes Day, when straw effigies of Fawkes are burned.

(thank you to thyme for providing both the quotes and the material for these footnotes)

There seems to be some controversy over the way I have broken this poem up, so I'm going to make a slight attempt to explain why I have put each part in its own node. This is not the way I think every poem should be noded - in other words, it's not the standard for poems on E2. I would hope, to be honest, that there would never be such a standard. One of the main underlying themes of The Hollow Men is loneliness and isolation. For this reason and this reason alone I felt I should isolate each section from the others. This way, the reader is forced to take each section on its own, and further forced to slow down when reading it. That's it, really. I hope that settles the issue.