Wednesday, February 21, 2007

T.S. Eliot Reflects on The Day

There's a wonderful solemn contrast between Carnival and Ash Wednesday; I hope to work it into a novel some day. Human beings have a long history of acknowledging their own mortality. Once upon a time when a person received the ashes they were told "Remember, Man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return." The words have been softened considerably now, but the solemn implication is there, and it's ultimately rather satisfying. Here's a bit of Eliot's famous poem:


by T.S. Eliot

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

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