[log in to unmask] wrote:
> 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 [clip]

And as with the matter of denying history, so with this. To say that
immediate experience is essential because it offers a "glimpse . . . of
the larger, and far more important, things concealed by our incarnation"
is, precisely, to denies the validity of that experience. Those larger
things do not exist, and the assertion of their existence is the
trivialization of human life.

This is not an objection to FQ. They are "true" in a more profound
sense: they dramatize the possibility, in the middle of the 20th
century, of the world view they encapsule. That possibility (regrettable
though it may be) is nevertheless part of the truth of history.

Incidentally, I would argue that Pound's slogans of "Make it New" and
"Ideas into Action" are similar repudiations of history. The first
assumes that "it" has always existed, and that to create the new is to
merely revive and "make new" what has never actually ceased to exist.
His whole effort to reincarnate the medieval doctrine of the "Just
Price" is an example. That "idea" existed within concrete historical
conditions, and when it is reasserted in the 20th century it comes out
as populism, with the tendency of populism towards both anti-semitism
and fascism.

This is not a negative judgment of either Pound or Eliot as a poet. Were
I to demand of poetry that it manifest my sense of the world I wouldn't
have much to read. Milton. Pope. Austen. Dickens. Pound. They are all
great writers, and my favorites, but .... profoundly wrong.


I don't read German well enough to read the following in its native
language, but even the translation is impressive, and carries my sense
of what history is -- and what it means to honor the immediate concerns
some 99% of the world's population. For those who do read German I
include that too.

    To the Coming Generations
            (Bertolt Brecht)


     Truly, I live in dark times!
     The innocuous word is fatuous.  A smooth brow
     Denotes insensitivity.  If someone is laughing
     It only means, that he hasn't yet
     Heard the dreadful news.

     What sort of times are these, when
     To talk about trees is almost a crime,
     Because it is simultaneously silence about so many
     Someone placidly crossing the street
     Is certainly not available for his friend
     Who is in need?

     It is true: I do earn my living.
     But believe me: that is the merest accident.
     That I do gives me the right, to be stuffing myself
     I have been spared by accident.  (If my luck runs
        out, I'm finished.)
     They say to me: eat and drink!  Be happy that you
     But how can I eat and drink, when
     Every bite that I eat is ripped from the mouth of a
        starving man, and
     My glass of water is being denied to one dying of
     And yet I eat, and I drink.

     I would love to be wise as well.
     You can find what is wise in the old books:
     To hold yourself aloof from the strife of the
        world, and to spend
     Your brief time without fear;
     Also, to get by without violence,
     To repay evil with good,
     To relinquish desires, rather than fulfilling them,
     These are all considered wise.
     Of all this I am incapable:
     Truly, I live in dark times!


     I came to the cities in the Age of Disorder
     When hunger was rampant.
     I came among mankind in the Age of Turmoil
     And I railed against it.
     That is how my days were spent
     That were given to me on earth.

     I ate my food between battles
     I lied down to sleep among the murderers
     I attended diffidently to love
     And looked upon nature with impatience.
     That is how my days were spent
     That were given to me on earth.

     In my day, the streets led to the swamp.
     My language betrayed me to the butcher.
     There was little I could do.  But the powerful
     Sat more comfortably without me, so I hoped.
     That is how my days were spent
     That were given to me on earth.

     The forces were weak.  The goal
     Was distant, remote.
     It was plainly visible, even if I
     Could never reach it.
     That is how my days were spent
     That were given to me on earth.


     You, who will spring up from the flood
     In which we have drowned
     When you speak of our shortcomings,
     Also of the dark times
     That you have been spared.

     We,  who had to change countries more often
     Than our shoes,  walked in despair amid the class
     When we saw only injustice, but no indignation.

     And yet we do know:
     Even hatred of baseness
     Contorts the features.
     Even wrath against injustice
     Makes the voice hoarse.  Ah, we
     Who wanted to prepare the ground for friendship
     Were ourselves unable to be friendly.

     But you, if the world has come so far
     That each person is now a helper to his fellows
     Think of us
     With forbearance.

    An die Nachgeborenen
(Bertolt Brecht)


 Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
 Das arglose Wort ist töricht.  Eine glatte Stirn
 Deutet auf Unempfindlichkeit hin.  Der
 Hat die furchtbare Nachricht
 Nur noch nicht empfangen.
 Was sind das für Zeiten, wo
 Ein Gespräch über Bäume fast ein
    Verbrechen ist
 Weil es ein Schweigen über so viele Untaten
 Der dort ruhig über die Straße geht
 Ist wohl nicht mehr erreichbar für seine
 Die in Not sind?

 Es ist wahr: ich verdiene noch meinen
 Aber glaubt mir: das ist nur ein Zufall.
 Von dem, was ich tue, berechtigt mich dazu,
 mich sattzuessen.
 Zufällig bin ich verschont.  (Wenn mein
 Glück aussetzt, bin ich verloren.)

 Man sagt mir: Iß und trink du!  Sei froh, daß
 du hast!
 Aber wie kann ich essen und trinken, wenn
 Ich es dem Hungernden entreiße, was ich
 esse, und
 Mein Glas Wasser  einem Verdurstenden
 Und doch esse und trinke ich.

 Ich wäre gerne auch weise.
 In den alten Büchern steht, was weise ist:
 Sich aus dem Streit der Welt halten und die
 kurze Zeit
 Ohne Furcht verbringen.
 Auch ohne Gewalt auskommen
 Böses mit Gutem vergelten
 Seine Wünsche nicht erfüllen, sondern
 Gilt für weise.
 Alles das kann ich nicht:
 Wahrlich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!


 In die Städte kam ich zur Zeit der Unordnung
 Als da Hunger herrschte.
 Unter die Menschen kam ich zur Zeit des
 Und ich empörte mich mit ihnen.
 So verging meine Zeit
 Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

 Mein Essen aß ich zwischen den Schlachten
 Schlafen legte ich mich unter die Mörder
 Der Liebe pflegte ich achtlos
 Und die Natur sah ich ohne Geduld.
 So verging meine Zeit
 Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

 Die Straßen führten in den Sumpf zu meiner
 Die Sprache verriet mich dem Schlächter.
 Ich vermochte nur wenig.  Aber die
 Saßen ohne mich sicherer, das hoffte ich.
 So verging meine Zeit
 Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

 Die Kräfte waren gering.  Das Ziel
 Lag in großer Ferne.
 Es war deutlich sichtbar, wenn auch für
 Kaum zu erreichen.
 So verging meine Zeit
 Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.


 Ihr, die ihr auftauchen werdet aus der Flut
 In der wir untergegangen sind
 Wenn ihr von unsern Schwächen sprecht
 Auch der finsteren Zeit
 Der ihr entronnen seid.

 Gingen wir doch, öfter als die Schuhe die
 Länder wechselnd
 Durch die Kriege der Klassen, verzweifelt
 Wenn da nur Unrecht war und keine

 Dabei wissen wir doch:
 Auch der Haß gegen die Niedrigkeit
 Verzerrt die Züge.
 Auch der Zorn über das Unrecht
 Macht die Stimme heiser.  Ach, wir
 Die wir den Boden bereiten wollten für
 Konnten selber nicht freundlich sein.

 Ihr aber, wenn es soweit sein wird
 Daß der Mensch dem Menschen ein Helfer
 Gedenkt unsrer
 Mit Nachsicht.