There was this girl who had a nervous breakdown. She said to the doctor who was to treat her "I know you are going to deceive me but will it be the deception of the thrush?" The doctor looked puzzled. Then the girl quoted the line in the context of the poem. "Ahh yes" said the doctor "I can promise you it wont be anything more than that."
"Frances Rushworth" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Sorry if this is coming through twice, it didn't get sent to my inbox.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Frances Rushworth
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Sent: Monday, January 28, 2002 10:57 PM
>Subject: Re: deception of the thrush
>Thank you very much for your careful interpretation of the 'deception of the thrush'. Although my 'first ripple' to the stone tossed in by sugeknight was far less well considered, this first section of Burnt Norton has been rolling round my head for twenty years and I never have got a grip on it.
>What do I think? Hmm, provoked to think properly, I see what you mean, the idea that the life of the mind, or perhaps the mind in approaching the soul or attempting to encompass the 'cosmic beginning', is more real than day to day life, and that it is the former that humankind cannot bear too much of. It reverses my previous interpretation, that head games are an escape from the real world 'gloomy hills of London.' So being brave would entail pursuing lines of thought through the doors and into the rose garden, not facing life 'as it is', without our usual props.
>Bear with me while I think on. So, the rose garden as a complex twofold symbol, in Burnt Norton, to which I also apply the element air, vibrant or faded. Then there is East Coker, earth, the little people, the wood, the dark, the body, and no roses. After that, The Dry Salvages, obviously water, sullen river, restless sea, and only a 'Royal Rose or lavender spray'. Finally, Little Gidding and fire. Fire Pentecostal - perhaps a knowledge of one part of your symbol, the atemporal Love of God. Fire of love, the intolerable shirt of flame - perhaps intrinsic to the other part of the symbol, human existence. The choice of pyre or pyre - to be redeemed from fire by fire. Now do that Eliot thing, and look at the beginning - the rose garden - and the end - it sounds like the rose garden again, but 'to know the place for the first time'. The last line of all: 'And the fire and the rose are one'. Woof, the symbols grow too unwieldy - or perhaps I can't bear any more reality. I would have to be an alchemist to make myself a Philosopher's Stone out of that lot.
>I was very interested by the partial letter you sent to JP Earls - I think I have missed some posts along the way, for I don't have the thread. At the risk of turning old ground, I too find language a problem - first, it is a constraint. If one's own language has not words for something, it is difficult to feel it at all, let alone express it. Clearly you are a far better linguist than I am, but I think I can feel things in German that are inaccessible/unacceptable in English. Do you find the same, in other languages, or is it a culture, hey, why not Weltanschauung, that makes the difference, rather than words?
>Second, as you say, when you have the words, they are incapable of endurance. Finding the pattern, or at least a 'form' outside the platonic cave, giving it 'words that will not stay still', might that be 'the fight to recover what has been lost And found and lost again and again'? Finding a way of communicating our own incommunicable symbols, at least now?
>Before I digress further, into Celtic symbols, still without resolution, I will say thanks and hope you continue the letter to JP.
>----- Original Message -----
> From: Jo㯠Vergo Gallerani Cuter
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2002 6:49 AM
> Subject: Re: deception of the thrush
> Dear Frances,
> The meaning of the "deception of the thrush" is certainly bound to the meaning we give to "our first world":
> Through the first gate
> Into our first world, shall we follow
> The deception of the thrush?
> In the poem, this "first world" is linked to the "rose-garden", which is given by memory:
> Footfalls echo in the memory
> Down the passage which we did not take
> Towards the door we never opened
> Into the rose-garden
> Everything in this garden is elusive, marked by instability. The inhabitants are [like distant] "echoes" (v.19); they move "without pressure, over the dead leaves" (v.26). There is "music hidden in the shrubbery", but its "unheard" (v.29). The visual experience is that of an "eyebeam" crossing "unseen". The evidence of it? Well, "the roses had the look of flowers that are looked at"... In the pool, for a brief moment, the narrator could see the faces of the "inhabitants" reflected on the water, but
> Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
> Then a bird (the thrush? I guess another one. the thrush sings a two-note motive: "find them, find them". this bird sings a repeated single note: "go, go, go". but don't trust me. we don't have thrushes down here. I've never heard one.) comes to expel the visitor, since
> human kind
> Cannot bear very much reality
> So the elusive experience in the garden is (oddly enough) not only real, but supremely real: it is "too much" real for human beings. We are not presented here to an ordinary kind of mnemonic experience. What is involved is not an ordinary scene of life. But what is it?
> In my opinion the rose garden is a twofold symbol. A personal and a cosmic symbol at the same time.
> First of all, it is the symbol of the World as we see it for the first time. Not a part of the world - say, a face, a landscape, a sound - but the World as such. Life. Human existence. Being in front of something. Being inside the river of time. We are always inside it, but distracted of it. Our time is the time of the clocks, "spatialized", with landmarks put before and after: what I did yesterday, what I'll do tomorrow. Time future of our expectations, time past of our remembrances, and the merely possible time of our imagination (what could have been, but was not). But all these "times" are given in the "specious present" presenting itself in the flow of life. This is the time we "find" when we come into existence [in a certain sense, at every single moment]. The time of an infant. The time of our "first world".
> I think the rose-garden is also the symbol of a "cosmic beginning", where everything that exist "was" ["Is"] potentially contained in the atemporal Love of God. But to support this reading, I would have to use different passages of the poem, and my letter is growing too long.
> What do you think?
> P.S.: Does any of you know of some text about the relation between the Quartets and Augustine? Thanks.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Frances Rushworth
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2002 8:22 PM
> Subject: deception of the thrush
> sugeknight wrote 'But heres my theory: The DOTT [deception of the thrush] is the belief that a person can find happiness in this life.'
> I read it only slightly differently, but a spot more ?optimistically, that the pursuit of happiness is futile, whether through memory or as a future goal. Kant was not the first to observe 'that the more a cultivated reason concerns itself with the aim of enjoying life and happiness, the farther does man get away from true contentment.' I think contentment is something one can strive for, and happiness can happen when you aren't looking. If you really want to suffer, let love seize you.
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