The Waste Land Found

Is it still found poetry if you find a whole verse of an existing poem?

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

Found poetry at London’s South Bank


The river sweats
Oil and tar
The barges drift
With the turning tide
Red sails
To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.
The barges wash
Drifting logs
Down Greenwich reach
Past the Isle of Dogs.

From The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

For anyone who wishes to see this first-hand, the paving stone can be found on the South Bank of the River Thames, roughly halfway between the London Eye and Hungerford Bridge.

5 thoughts on “The Waste Land Found

    • Thanks for your comment! It’s interesting to think how many others have seen it, and what it means if we all claimed it as our own piece of found poetry. It’s nice to imagine this kind of shared experience, which I suppose is one of the great things about public art.


  1. Yep! “Still found poetry”… or maybe it’s more of a “ready made” – like Duchamp’s “Fountain”, you know?

    Love the fact that you actually found it rather than hunted it down… maybe found poetry is cheapened if you chase it around too much?

    Never thought about that before…

    Great post. Thanks

    • Hi,
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      It’s interesting that you bring up Duchamp. I’m not sure I, or we, could specifically claim this to be an example of a readymade, that might be going too far. However, in a broader sense, that idea is very relevant I think, as to some extent a poem is that writing which we declare to be poetry, just as Duchamp said in relation to art. It can certainly seem to be that way anyway, particularly now that so much poetry is written in blank verse and relatively free of rhyme; all the obvious identifiers are absent.

      I think you’re right, if I had gone out in search of it, it wouldn’t have delighted me nearly so much. One of the great things about public art I suppose. Hard to quantify, but invaluable probably. Actually, your point has stimulated an interesting idea in me – I shall reveal all at the appropriate juncture. Stay tuned!

      Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Shaping Up Poetry: Found Poems | cricketmuse

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