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‘Death’ here is dying to worldly desires indicated in “the summer palaces,” “the silken girls bringing sherbet,” and hands “dicing for pieces of silver.”

And a life of absolute purity captured in the image of “a running stream” and “an old white horse (galloping) in the meadow.”

That is the kind of life the poet aspires to, as he says in ‘Ash-Wednesday,’

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope

CR 

On Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 8:17 AM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
“I had seen birth and death,
But thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our palaces, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.”

I’m intrigued by “another death.”
Not just one more death but another kind of death.
The poet would be glad of another death because it is life-giving. 
He had earlier thought birth and death were different.
No, they were not. 
Just as this birth was different, this death too was different. 

CR 

On Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 11:03 PM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Christmas with TS Eliot 
from Times’ archives 


CR