What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish?
Compare “rubbish” to “fragments” in the final section of Section V. Eliot is referring to the apparent disorderliness of his poem, as well as the rubbish heap of Western/world history, and asking what can be salvaged from it. The tone here is prophetic and recurs throughout the poem. Eliot identified the sexless prophet Tiresias (see Section III) as the central voice of The Waste Land: this is most likely his/her voice breaking in.
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