Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Poetry again: TS Eliot

With TS Eliot, I always ask, "What does it mean?" I only grasp shadows or wisps of the meaning, but they are beautiful shadows. Surely the real is even more beautiful (or more terrifying) than the shadows. November continues to inspire a return to poetry.

Little Gidding (No. 4 of the Four Quartets)
T.S. Eliot

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.

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