Funny that Martin should bring up the Pre-Raphaelites, 'cos my next choice is a poem which... well, read on.
(Poem #9) La Figlia Che Piange (The Weeping Girl)
Stand on the highest pavement of the stair - Lean on a garden urn - Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair - Clasp your flowers to you with a pained suprise - Fling them to the ground and turn With a fugitive resentment in your eyes: But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair. So I would have had him leave, So I would have had her stand and grieve, So he would have left As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised, As the mind deserts the body it has used. I should find Some way incomparably light and deft, Some way we both should understand, Simple and faithless as a smile and a shake of the hand. She turned away, but with the autumn weather Compelled my imagination many days, Many days and many hours: Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers. And I wonder how they should have been together! I should have lost a gesture and a pose. Sometimes these cogitations still amaze The troubled midnight, and the noon's repose.
from 'Prufrock and Other Observations', 1917. The image in the first stanza reminds me irresistibly of the Brotherhood; to know exactly why, visit http://www.speel.demon.co.uk/other/prb.htm for a brief review of the Pre-Raphaelites (and several pictures which capture their aesthetic perfectly). From the second stanza onwards we move into familiar Eliotesque terrain - the explorations of time, faith, love and other Big Things. Despite these metaphysical excursions, the poem remains free of allusion and cross-referencing to a remarkable extent (for Eliot), and is still airy and light in tenor. For me, though, the whole impact of the poem hinges on the first verse, which I think is simply beautiful. thomas.