Dear Caroll and Gunnar, Peter and all,
As ever, I have much enjoyed your posts as I lurk quietly at the shallow end
of the pool of contributors to the list. I have been mulling over the
importance of those lines of debated scanscion, wondering why I agree with
Gunnar - they are central to the Four Quartets.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
The idea that Love is not just wonderful fulfilment, joy and being at one,
or at least, that one of its consequences may be the duty to deny oneself
desires - an unfamiliar name. Echoing the command to say to one's soul, be
still, to wait without love, or hope or thought, and later, the idea of
detachment - is this a freedom from love, or loss of self in a universal
concept which might be called love? 'liberation - not less of love but
expanding of love beyond desire'. Love ... 'Caught in the form of
limitation Between un-being and being.' that state so often alluded
throughout the poem, beyond human power, though striven towards.
The annoyance that I cannot clearly think through, much less express, where
such meanderings take me, leads me to offer you a favourite poem by Mervyn
Peake (author of Gormenghast).
I cannot give the reasons,
I only sing the tunes:
the sadness of the seasons
the madness of the moons.
I cannot be didactic
or lucid, but I can
be quite obscure and practic-
In gorgery and gushness
and all that's squishified,
My voice has all the lushness
of what I can't abide
And yet it has a beauty
most proud and terrible
denied to those whose duty
is to be cerebral.
I've never really liked the last verse, but here it is, for completeness
sake, along with a challenge - can anyone write me a better one - please?
Among the antlered mountains
I make my viscous way
and watch the sepia fountains
throw up their lime-green spray.