Etymology is usually the best scholarly starting
point when it comes down to a single word. You
may wish to check out the etymology of the Greek
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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From: Vishvesh Obla [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 5:54 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: 'Ash Wednesday' : A clarification requested
I quoted Eliot's 'Ash Wednesday' elsewhere since it
was Ash Wednesday last week and a friend of mine, who
is a very spiritual person and well knowledged in
Indian spirituality, was struck by Eliot's emphasis on
the 'Word' from the stanza quoted later. Eliot's
poems interest me not for their allusions (very
scholarly and varied, and hence interesting, though)
but for the poetry they get transformed to. My friend
asked me if I could explain what Eliot refers to the
'word'. I could understand that Eliot makes some kind
of allusion to the Upanishadic 'AUM' in the stanza.
But then, I thought I could see how others perceived
it before I made any comment on it to him. I would
appreciate any of your comments on it.
PS : Here is the stanza:
"If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and
deny the voice..."
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