It is possible to trace the major patterns of abstract images related to time, inertia, sickness, fear and failure in the poem. When taken as a whole, all these may be seen as the contributive aspects of the unpromising prospects of human relationships.
The “you and I” of the poem remain undefined until the end of the poem, but the psyche of the speaker, “I” is characterized by the image of a “patient etherized upon a table”. The image of sickness and inertia overshadows the whole poem. The “half-deserted streets”, “muttering retreats” and the winding streets hrough which the disintegrated self of the narrator walks leads to “an overwhelming question” which reminds one of Mathew Arnold’s Dover beach, where a similar question, seemingly on love, raises the reader’s expectations momentarily. But the emphasis is shifted to somewhere else, when he mentions like a refrain,
The narrator’s indecision regarding the social mingling and the eventual meeting of these women are expressed in the latter part of the poem, though the reason for his indecision and fear are not properly accounted for. It seems that the image of the women and that of their talking about art are just representations of a pretentious life that the narrator is unable to cope with, or rise up to, and these images are presented in a specific order so that they constitute more towards the rationale of the theme than any logical reasoning. Hence it is possible to analyze these images as part of the impressionistic technique that modernist poets followed.
F.R Leavis , after his question “Can this be poetry”, quotes these lines and observes: “And yet there are passages that, for all their oddness of imagery and tone, do not immediately condemn themselves as ‘unpoetical’ even by anthological standards” (Leavis, 66). Even for the contemporary reader who has an overview and clear