Philomela as the nightingale, and her form of speech, was one theme throughout the Waste Land that I found compelling. She resorted to visual and nonverbal expression, or art, to communicate with her sister. At the myth's end, her voice and her autonomy both return but not in ways they had manifested previously. She becomes a nightingale -"still the world pursues"- crying to their "dirty ears." What she says has significance; however, this message depends wholly on the context of her experiences. Stretching a thread between Eliot with the Waste Land and Philomela and her tapestry ("jug, jug, jug," even) doesn't seem like too much of a reach.
Eliot himself stated: this was a personal work, without any generational generalization in mind. He wasn't relaying a verdict on behalf of the jury. He also posited in his commentary that "the business of the poet is... to use the ordinary [emotions] and, in working them up into poetry, to express feelings that are not in actual emotions at all." A vehicle of this imperfect transition is objective equivalence, which he describes as implying emotions through external means. Philomela's story, told for centuries and echoed too often, represents just one of the motifs used in the Waste Land to acquaint the reader with personality and emotion that the poet himself wishes to escape. His message is as indirect and articulated as birdsong. The feeling present in the poem may be manufactured, or even complicit in an attempt to tell a story without a tongue, but it is felt by the reader.