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AbstractThe claim of this paper is that the poetic word enables a creative and insightful perspective on philosophical issues through a mode of expression which is less curtailed by the academic and traditional conventions more commonly assumed in philosophical works. The poetic perspective is potentially more daring, more courageous, more challenging and ultimately more honest than that afforded by ‘pure’ philosophy. This paper, through an examination of Eliot’s poetry, asserts this claim, with particular reference to an understanding of human subjectivity. Eliot’s portrayal of the modern subject as essentially fragmented, and often split between private and public realities, provides an exploration of the complex issue of subjectivity, as concepts such as identity and recognition, time and memory, loss and change, vulnerability and fragmentation are creatively explored in poetic form.