Dear Listers,

The incipient distaste for the world, evident in the "Observations" of "Prufrock 1917" acquires a grim aspect in 'Ara Vos Prec'/'Poems 1920' which focus on the protagonist's participation in the world's corruption and consequent debasement. It is underscored in the epigraph of "A Cooking Egg": 

 "In the thirtieth year of my life when I drank up all my shame",

as also in the following lines of "Gerontion": 

 "I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it  
  Since what is kept must be adulterated?  
  I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:  
  How should I use them for your closer contact?"

The going gets tough, but not without certain redeeming reminders of the pristine glory of True Church and its redemptive character:

 "In the juvescence of the year  
  Came Christ the tiger" 

 "The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours."

 "The horses, under the axletree  
   Beat up the dawn from Istria        
  With even feet." 

 "Moins d’une lieue d’ici est Saint Apollinaire  
  En Classe, basilique connue des amateurs  
  De chapitaux d’acanthe que tournoie le vent." 

 "Et Saint Apollinaire, raide et ascétique,  
  Vieille usine désaffectée de Dieu, tient encore  
  Dans ses pierres écroulantes la forme précise de Byzance." 

 "Flesh and blood is weak and frail,        
  Susceptible to nervous shock;  
  While the True Church can never fail  
  For it is based upon a rock." 

 "A painter of the Umbrian school  
  Designed upon a gesso ground         
  The nimbus of the Baptized God.  
  The wilderness is cracked and browned  
 "But through the water pale and thin  
  Still shine the unoffending feet  
  And there above the painter set       
  The Father and the Paraclete." 

 "Under the penitential gates  
  Sustained by staring Seraphim  
  Where the souls of the devout  
  Burn invisible and dim." 

 "The nightingales are singing near       
  The Convent of the Sacred Heart" 

The journey is awesome . . .

Incidentally, nowhere do we find the poet compromising with the aesthetic beauty of art in his zeal to advance his argument. And that's what makes, IMHO, TS Eliot a poet par excellence.


--- On Tue, 4/6/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> An inalienable part of the religious quest
> are the incipient moments of disenchantment with the world
> of sense scattered throughout early poetry. These lead to a
> crucial stage that finds expression in lines
> like
> "And at the corner of the street  
>  A lonely cab-horse steams and
> stamps."  ['Preludes']
> "If the street were time and he at the end of
> the street"  ['The Boston Evening
> Transcript']
> Eventually, these would culminate in a sense of
> exile from the world, as in 'Ash-Wednesday'
> --
> "And after this our
> exile"
> CR
> --- On Tue, 4/6/10, Chokh Raj
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> ps
> The
> mystical vision in the rose garden seems to
> be spurred as much by the immediate context
> -- the enchantment of the moment vis-a-vis the
> hyacinth girl, "Your arms full, and your hair wet"
> -- as by the larger context of
> the persistent sense of the world as a waste land
> captured in the phrase "Od' und leer das
> Meer".
> cf.
> 'Gerontion':   "I would meet you upon
> this honestly.  
>                         I
> that was near your heart was removed therefrom
>                         To
> lose beauty in terror . . ."
> and
> 'Silence':  "You may say what you
> will, 
>                      At
> such peace I am terrified.
> There is nothing else
> beside."            
> CR
> --- On Tue, 4/6/10, Chokh Raj
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> the mystical moment in the rose garden
> --
> "I could not   
> Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither   
> Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 
> Looking into the heart of light, the
> silence."
> vis-a-vis the waste land --
> CR
> --- On Sun, 4/4/10, Chokh Raj
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> the mystical moments --
> "//I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot
> say where.
> And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in
> time.//
> The inner freedom from the practical desire,
> The release from action and suffering, release from the
> inner
> And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
> By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
> Erhebung without motion, concentration
> Without elimination, both a new world
> And the old made explicit, understood
> In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
> The resolution of its partial horror."
> "Time past and time future
> Allow but a little consciousness.
> To be conscious is not to be in time
> But only in time can //the moment in the rose-garden,
> The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
> The moment in the draughty church at smokefall//
> Be remembered; involved
>  with past and future.
> Only through time time is conquered."
> Cheers,
> CR
> --- On Sat, 4/3/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> > Lyndall Gordon's "T.S. Eliot: An
> > Imperfect Life", pp.48-50, para beginning
> "Eliot's 1910
> > poems . . .
> > 
> > "Still, there was in the spring and summer of
> 1910 some
> > vital intersection . . . [at which] we might locate
> the
> > beginning of Eliot's religious journey."
> > 
> >
> > 
> >
>  Regards,
> >  CR