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TSE  January 2002

TSE January 2002

Subject:

Re: FQ's by the numbers (Parts II)

From:

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Date:

Mon, 07 Jan 2002 12:09:26 EST

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PARTS II

    BURNT NORTON

          II

                        Garlic and sapphires in the mud
                        Clot the bedded axle-tree.
                        The trilling wire in the blood
                        Sings below inveterate scars
                        Appeasing long forgotten wars.
                        The dance along the artery
                        The circulation of the lymph
                        Are figured in the drift of stars
                        Ascend to summer in the tree
                        We move above the moving tree
                        In light upon the figured leaf
                        And hear upon the sodden floor
                        Below, the boarhound and the boar
                        Pursue their pattern as before
                        But reconciled among the stars.

                        At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
                        Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
                        But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
               Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
                        Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
                        There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
                        I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
                        And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
                        The inner freedom from the practical desire,
                        The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
                        And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
                        By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
                        Erhebung without motion, concentration
                        Without elimination, both a new world
                        And the old made explicit, understood
                        In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
                        The resolution of its partial horror.
                        Yet the enchainment of past and future
                        Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
                        Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
                        Which flesh cannot endure.
                                                                  Time past and time future
                        Allow but a little consciousness.
                        To be conscious is not to be in time
                        But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
                        The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
                        The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
                        Be remembered; involved with past and future.
                        Only through time time is conquered.

    
    EAST COKER

                 II

                        What is the late November doing
                        With the disturbance of the spring
                        And creatures of the summer heat,
                        And snowdrops writhing under feet
                        And hollyhocks that aim too high
                        Red into grey and tumble down
                        Late roses filled with early snow?
                        Thunder rolled by the rolling stars
                        Simulates triumphal cars
                        Deployed in constellated wars
                        Scorpion fights against the Sun
                        Until the Sun and Moon go down
                        Comets weep and Leonids fly
                        Hunt the heavens and the plains
                        Whirled in a vortex that shall bring
                        The world to that destructive fire
                        Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.

                            That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory:
                        A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
                        Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
                        With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.
                        It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
                        What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
                        Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
                        And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us
                        Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
                        Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
                        The serenity only a deliberate hebetude,
                        The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
                        Useless in the darkness into which they peered
                        Or from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us,
                        At best, only a limited value
                        In the knowledge derived from experience.
                        The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
                        For the pattern is new in every moment
                        And every moment is a new and shocking
                        Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
                        Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
                        In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
                        But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
                        On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
                        And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
                        Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
                        Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
                        Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
                        Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
                        The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
                        Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

                            The houses are all gone under the sea.

                            The dancers are all gone under the hill.


    THE DRY SALVAGES

          II

                        Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing,
                        The silent withering of autumn flowers
                        Dropping their petals and remaining motionless;
                        Where is there and end to the drifting wreckage,
                        The prayer of the bone on the beach, the unprayable
                        Prayer at the calamitous annunciation?

                            There is no end, but addition: the trailing
                        Consequence of further days and hours,
                        While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
                        Years of living among the breakage
                        Of what was believed in as the most reliable—
                        And therefore the fittest for renunciation.

                            There is the final addition, the failing
                        Pride or resentment at failing powers,
                        The unattached devotion which might pass for devotionless,
                        In a drifting boat with a slow leakage,
                        The silent listening to the undeniable
                        Clamour of the bell of the last annunciation.

                            Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
                        Into the wind's tail, where the fog cowers?
                        We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
                        Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
                        Or of a future that is not liable
                        Like the past, to have no destination.

                            We have to think of them as forever bailing,
                        Setting and hauling, while the North East lowers
                        Over shallow banks unchanging and erosionless
                        Or drawing their money, drying sails at dockage;
                        Not as making a trip that will be unpayable
                        For a haul that will not bear examination.

                            There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing,
                        No end to the withering of withered flowers,
                        To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless,
                        To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage,
                        The bone's prayer to Death its God. Only the hardly, barely prayable
                        Prayer of the one Annunciation.

                            It seems, as one becomes older,
                        That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence—
                        Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy
                        Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution,
                        Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past.
                        The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being,
                        Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection,
                        Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination—
                        We had the experience but missed the meaning,
                        And approach to the meaning restores the experience
                        In a different form, beyond any meaning
                        We can assign to happiness. I have said before
                        That the past experience revived in the meaning
                        Is not the experience of one life only
                        But of many generations—not forgetting
                        Something that is probably quite ineffable:
                        The backward look behind the assurance
                        Of recorded history, the backward half-look
                        Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror.
                        Now, we come to discover that the moments of agony
                        (Whether, or not, due to misunderstanding,
                        Having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things,
                        Is not in question) are likewise permanent
                        With such permanence as time has. We appreciate this better
                        In the agony of others, nearly experienced,
                        Involving ourselves, than in our own.
                        For our own past is covered by the currents of action,
                        But the torment of others remains an experience
                        Unqualified, unworn by subsequent attrition.
                        People change, and smile: but the agony abides.
                        Time the destroyer is time the preserver,
                        Like the river with its cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops,
                        The bitter apple, and the bite in the apple.
                        And the ragged rock in the restless waters,
                        Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
                        On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
                        In navigable weather it is always a seamark
                        To lay a course by: but in the sombre season
                        Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.


    LITTLE GIDDING

          II

                        Ash on and old man's sleeve
                        Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
                        Dust in the air suspended
                        Marks the place where a story ended.
                        Dust inbreathed was a house—
                        The walls, the wainscot and the mouse,
                        The death of hope and despair,
                               This is the death of air.

                        There are flood and drouth
                        Over the eyes and in the mouth,
                        Dead water and dead sand
                        Contending for the upper hand.
                        The parched eviscerate soil
                        Gapes at the vanity of toil,
                        Laughs without mirth.
                               This is the death of earth.

                        Water and fire succeed
                        The town, the pasture and the weed.
                        Water and fire deride
                        The sacrifice that we denied.
                        Water and fire shall rot
                        The marred foundations we forgot,
                        Of sanctuary and choir.
                               This is the death of water and fire.

                        In the uncertain hour before the morning
                             Near the ending of interminable night
                             At the recurrent end of the unending
                        After the dark dove with the flickering tongue
                             Had passed below the horizon of his homing
                             While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin
                        Over the asphalt where no other sound was
                             Between three districts whence the smoke arose
                             I met one walking, loitering and hurried
                        As if blown towards me like the metal leaves
                             Before the urban dawn wind unresisting.
                             And as I fixed upon the down-turned face
                        That pointed scrutiny with which we challenge
                             The first-met stranger in the waning dusk
                             I caught the sudden look of some dead master
                        Whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled
                             Both one and many; in the brown baked features
                             The eyes of a familiar compound ghost
                        Both intimate and unidentifiable.
                             So I assumed a double part, and cried
                             And heard another's voice cry: 'What! are you here?'
                        Although we were not. I was still the same,
                             Knowing myself yet being someone other—
                             And he a face still forming; yet the words sufficed
                        To compel the recognition they preceded.
                             And so, compliant to the common wind,
                             Too strange to each other for misunderstanding,
                        In concord at this intersection time
                             Of meeting nowhere, no before and after,
                             We trod the pavement in a dead patrol.
                        I said: 'The wonder that I feel is easy,
                             Yet ease is cause of wonder. Therefore speak:
                             I may not comprehend, may not remember.'
                        And he: 'I am not eager to rehearse
                             My thoughts and theory which you have forgotten.
                             These things have served their purpose: let them be.
                        So with your own, and pray they be forgiven
                             By others, as I pray you to forgive
                             Both bad and good. Last season's fruit is eaten
                        And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.
                             For last year's words belong to last year's language
                             And next year's words await another voice.
                        But, as the passage now presents no hindrance
                             To the spirit unappeased and peregrine
                             Between two worlds become much like each other,
                        So I find words I never thought to speak
                             In streets I never thought I should revisit
                             When I left my body on a distant shore.
                        Since our concern was speech, and speech impelled us
                             To purify the dialect of the tribe
                             And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight,
                        Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
                             To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort.
                             First, the cold friction of expiring sense
                        Without enchantment, offering no promise
                             But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
                             As body and soul begin to fall asunder.
                        Second, the conscious impotence of rage
                             At human folly, and the laceration
                             Of laughter at what ceases to amuse.
                        And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
                             Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
                             Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
                        Of things ill done and done to others' harm
                             Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
                             Then fools' approval stings, and honour stains.
                        From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
                             Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
                             Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.'
                        The day was breaking. In the disfigured street
                             He left me, with a kind of valediction,
                             And faded on the blowing of the horn.

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