Print

Print


Carrol Cox wrote:

>Peter Montgomery wrote:
>
>
>>Seems to me that if one is looking down on the Boar-Hound
>>and the Boar playing out their cycle as before, then one has
>>taken one's politics to a more metaphyscal level, whereby
>>the little games of now and then and here and there haven't
>>got much to do with anything that really matters.
>>
>>
>>
>
>A denial of history, and a vicious attack on the immediate concerns of
>some 99% of the world's population, seems like a political opinion to
>me.
>
>If I were to try to write on Eliot's politics (and I think politics are
>rather central to his poetry), the passage I would start with would be
>the following:
>
>        In my beginning is my end. In succession
>        Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
>        Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
>        Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
>        Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
>        Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
>        Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
>        Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
>        Houses live and die; there is a time for building
>        And a time for living and for generation
>        And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
>        And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
>        And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
>
>        In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
>        Across the open field, leaving the deep lane
>        Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,
>        Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,
>        And the deep lane insists on the direction
>        Into the village, in the electric heat
>        Hypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry light
>        Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
>        The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
>        Wait for the early owl.
>                        In that open field
>        If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
>        On a Summer midnight, you can hear the music
>        Of the weak pipe and the little drum
>        And see them dancing around the bonfire
>        The association of man and woman
>        In daunsinge and commodious sacrament.
>        A dignified and commodious sacrament.
>        Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
>        Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
>        Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
>        Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
>        Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
>        Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
>        Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
>        Mirth of those long since under the earth
>        Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
>        Keeping the rhythm of their dancing
>        As in their living in the living seasons
>        The time of the seasons and the constellations
>        The time of milking and the time of harvest
>        The time of the coupling of man and woman
>        And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
>        Eating and drinking. Dung and death.
>
>Like the lines on the boarhound and the boar, this passage is at its
>core a denial of history. How does one focus on a poem, written in the
>midst of WW 2, by a man who has lived all his life in industrial cities,
>which reduces human history  to
>
>        The time of the seasons and the constellations
>        The time of milking and the time of harvest
>        The time of the coupling of man and woman
>        And that of beasts
>
>If that isn't political, I don't know what is.
>
>Carrol
>
>
>
>
Dear Carrol,
    These lines seem to me exactly not a denial of history and the life
of humans in it.  Say more, please.  As for them being political: yes in
the sense that we now say all perception and ideas are political, but no
in a less diffuse, more rigorous and useful, sort of understanding of
what is political.

Marcia