Can you help me rephrase some lines of Eliot’s “The Preludes I-II”?

1) The poet is describing what he sees as the winter evening settles down. He also lets the reader smell what he smells, like the odour of the steaks in passageways (a synonym?). It is dinner now. He carefully describes the end of the day as burnt-out ends of smoky days (can you help me rendering the contrast between the adjectives burnt-out and smoky: the fire is not an element of vitality but of death), likening the end of a day to a of cigarette. Such an attitude towards evening signifies loneliness and melancholy. Then a rainstorm blows up. “Grimy scraps” indicates the ugliness of the poet’s sorroundings, as do other images in the rest of the stanza. The winter evening is wrapped up in rain and dirt. There is only one cab-horse in the street. The next morning is pervaded by the unpleasant smell of beer.
2)In part II Eliot refers to human beings as shadows (dingy shades), who have been deprived of their human dignity. The metaphor conveys an idea of alienation. The modern town is desolated, swept by the wind, cold, dirt and alienated.
3) How can I rephrase: from the saw-dust trampled street? “newspapers from vacant lots”?


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  1. passageways is probably referring to hallways

    Burnt out would be all gone, nothing left, ended, finished. Smoky would be hazy, still in the process of burning, obscured.

    Sawdust trampled, worn out from being used. Newspaper from vacant lots, would be old and probably trash.

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