Ode on a Carpet, by T.S.A. Eliot

Soon, Portland International Airport will begin replacing the 14 acres of beloved blue-green carpet covering its terminals, a surface that has welcomed travelers since the early 1990s.

December 2, 2013 Published in the December 2013 issue of Portland Monthly

Traveling through PDX this holiday season? Snap a photo of the soon-to-depart carpet and post to Instagram or Twitter using #pdxcarpet
and you could see your pic in an upcoming issue of Portland Monthly!

1213 pdx airport uui1ys

Image: Nomad

This being our history issue, we thought it an apt moment to say our farewell, inspired by T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men.”

We are the rain-drenched,
We are the fugitives and refugees,
Running together
Luggage filled with . . . bacon maple bars? Alas!
Our pounding shoes, when
We hurry together,
Are scattered to A, B, C, D, E
Homesick feet over homespun rug
In our sky portal

Those who have crossed
With direct flights, to death’s other Concourse
Remember it—if at all—not as ugly
Dirty brown, but only
As the hearth rug
The city’s doormat

This is the terminal land
This is the cloud land
Here the airplanes
Ascend, here they land
Turkish not in make but nobility
The twinkle of a fading carpet
At the hour when we are
Trembling with excitement
To board in Zone 3
Leaving behind that rug forever

This is the way the carpet ends
This is the way the carpet ends
This is the way the carpet ends
Not with a cleaning but a replacing.

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