The Waste Land is a highly influential 433-line modernist poem by T. S. Eliot. It is perhaps the most famous and most written-about long poem of the 20th century, dealing with the decline of civilization and the impossibility of recovering meaning in life. Despite the alleged obscurity of the poem-its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its elegiac but intimidating summoning up of a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures-the poem has nonetheless become a familiar touchstone of modern literature. Among its famous phrases are "April is the cruelest month" (its first line); "I will show you fear in a handful of dust"; and "Shantih shantih shantih" (its last line). The title is sometimes mistakenly written as "The Wasteland".