Print

Print


I'm not sure if you're saying that, by focusing on the "sempiternal" patterns, Eliot is denying the importance of the immediate experience.  If you or anyone else is offering FQ for that proposition, I would have to disagree.  I think its (their?) major theme is that the immediate experience is essential because it is the only glimpse we have of the larger, and far more important, things concealed by our incarnation:

"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."

Same, I take it, with the boarhound and the boar: Eliot strives to view the human experience from that perch, but ultimately finds it can be understood, during this life, only down among the details of experience, for all their triviality.  That includes politics, I suppose.

At the very least, I think Eliot must be regarded as having pronounced (though not always consistent) political opinions if one does not limit the meaning to party politics.

Tom K

In a message dated 4/28/2003 11:13:51 PM Eastern Standard Time, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> writes:

>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
>