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TSE  January 2002

TSE January 2002

Subject:

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

From:

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Date:

Mon, 07 Jan 2002 12:11:34 EST

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PARTS V

    BURNT NORTON

          V

                        Words move, music moves
                        Only in time; but that which is only living
                        Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
                        Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
                        Can words or music reach
                        The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
                        Moves perpetually in its stillness.
                        Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
                        Not that only, but the co-existence,
                        Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
                        And the end and the beginning were always there
                        Before the beginning and after the end.
                        And all is always now. Words strain,
                        Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
                        Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
                        Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
                        Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
                        Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
                        Always assail them. The Word in the desert
                        Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
                        The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
                        The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.

                            The detail of the pattern is movement,
                        As in the figure of the ten stairs.
                        Desire itself is movement
                        Not in itself desirable;
                        Love is itself unmoving,
                        Only the cause and end of movement,
                        Timeless, and undesiring
                        Except in the aspect of time
                        Caught in the form of limitation
                        Between un-being and being.
                        Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
                        Even while the dust moves
                        There rises the hidden laughter
                        Of children in the foliage
                        Quick now, here, now, always—
                        Ridiculous the waste sad time
                        Stretching before and after.



    EAST COKER

          V

                        So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
                        Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
                        Trying to use words, and every attempt
                        Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
                        Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
                        For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
                        One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
                        Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
                        With shabby equipment always deteriorating
                        In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
                        Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
                        By strength and submission, has already been discovered
                        Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
                        To emulate—but there is no competition—
                        There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
                        And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
                        That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
                        For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

                            Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
                        The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
                        Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
                        Isolated, with no before and after,
                        But a lifetime burning in every moment
                        And not the lifetime of one man only
                        But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
                        There is a time for the evening under starlight,
                        A time for the evening under lamplight
                        (The evening with the photograph album).
                        Love is most nearly itself
                        When here and now cease to matter.
                        Old men ought to be explorers
                        Here or there does not matter
                        We must be still and still moving
                        Into another intensity
                        For a further union, a deeper communion
                        Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
                        The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
                        Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.


    THE DRY SALVAGES


          V

                        To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits,
                        To report the behaviour of the sea monster,
                        Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry,
                        Observe disease in signatures, evoke
                        Biography from the wrinkles of the palm
                        And tragedy from fingers; release omens
                        By sortilege, or tea leaves, riddle the inevitable
                        With playing cards, fiddle with pentagrams
                        Or barbituric acids, or dissect
                        The recurrent image into pre-conscious terrors—
                        To explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual
                        Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press:
                        And always will be, some of them especially
                        When there is distress of nations and perplexity
                        Whether on the shores of Asia, or in the Edgware Road.
                        Men's curiosity searches past and future
                        And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
                        The point of intersection of the timeless
                        With time, is an occupation for the saint—
                        No occupation either, but something given
                        And taken, in a lifetime's death in love,
                        Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
                        For most of us, there is only the unattended
                        Moment, the moment in and out of time,
                        The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
                        The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
                        Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
                        That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
                        While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
                        Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
                        Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
                        The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
                        Here the impossible union
                        Of spheres of existence is actual,
                        Here the past and future
                        Are conquered, and reconciled,
                        Where action were otherwise movement
                        Of that which is only moved
                        And has in it no source of movement—
                        Driven by daemonic, chthonic
                        Powers. And right action is freedom
                        From past and future also.
                        For most of us, this is the aim
                        Never here to be realised;
                        Who are only undefeated
                        Because we have gone on trying;
                        We, content at the last
                        If our temporal reversion nourish
                        (Not too far from the yew-tree)
                        The life of significant soil.
   LITTLE GIDDING

          V

                        What we call the beginning is often the end
                        And to make and end is to make a beginning.
                        The end is where we start from. And every phrase
                        And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
                        Taking its place to support the others,
                        The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
                        An easy commerce of the old and the new,
                        The common word exact without vulgarity,
                        The formal word precise but not pedantic,
                        The complete consort dancing together)
                        Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
                        Every poem an epitaph. And any action
                        Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
                        Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
                        We die with the dying:
                        See, they depart, and we go with them.
                        We are born with the dead:
                        See, they return, and bring us with them.
                        The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
                        Are of equal duration. A people without history
                        Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
                        Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
                        On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
                        History is now and England.

                        With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this
                             Calling

                        We shall not cease from exploration
                        And the end of all our exploring
                        Will be to arrive where we started
                        And know the place for the first time.
                        Through the unknown, unremembered gate
                        When the last of earth left to discover
                        Is that which was the beginning;
                        At the source of the longest river
                        The voice of the hidden waterfall
                        And the children in the apple-tree
                        Not known, because not looked for
                        But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
                        Between two waves of the sea.
                        Quick now, here, now, always—
                        A condition of complete simplicity
                        (Costing not less than everything)
                        And all shall be well and
                        All manner of thing shall be well
                        When the tongues of flame are in-folded
                        Into the crowned knot of fire
                        And the fire and the rose are one.


####

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