T.S. Eliot – Four Quartets

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τοῦ λόγου δὲ ἐόντος ξυνοῦ ζώουσιν οἱ πολλοί
ὡς ἰδίαν ἔχοντες φρόνησιν
I. p. 77. Fr. 2.
ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω μία καὶ ὡυτή
I. p. 89 Fr. 60.


Diels: Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (Herakleitos)

Burnt Norton

I

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.

What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.

What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
                            But to what purpose

Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
                        Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner.
Through the first gate,
Into our first world,
shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world

There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.

There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,

Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.

Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.

Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

II

Garlic and sapphires in the mud
Clot the bedded axle-tree.

The thrilling wire in the blood
Sings below inveterate scars
Appeasing long forgotten wars
.
The dance along the artery
The circulation of the lymph
Are figured in the drift of stars

Ascend to summer in the tree
We move above the moving tree
In light
upon the figured leaf
And hear upon the sodden floor
Below, the boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars.


At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance
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
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.

                                        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.

III

Here is a place of disaffection
Time before and time after
In a dim light: neither daylight
Investing form with lucid stillness
Turning shadow into transient beauty
Wtih slow rotation suggesting permanence
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plentitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time,
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.
Eructation of unhealthy souls
Into the faded air, the torpid
Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,
Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,
Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.

Descend lower, descend only
Into the world of perpetual solitude,

World not world, but that which is not world,
Internal darkness, deprivation
And destitution of all property,
Dessication of the world of sense,
Evacuation of the world of fancy,
Inoperancy of the world of spirit;
This is the one way, and the other
Is the same, not in movement
But abstention from movememnt; while the world moves
In appetency, on its metalled ways
Of time past and time future.

IV

Time and the bell have buried the day
The black cloud carries the sun away
Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis
Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray
Clutch and cling?
Chill
Fingers of yew be curled
Down on us?
After the kingfisher's wing
Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still
At the still point of the turning world

V

Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts
Not that only, but the co-existence
Or say that the end precedes the beginning
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end
And all is always now. Words strain
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish
Will not stay still.
Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering
Always assail them. The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation
The crying shadow in the funeral dance
The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera


The detail of the pattern is movement
As in the figure of the ten stairs
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;
Love is itself unmoving
Only the cause and end of movement
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always-
Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after


East Coker

I

In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane

And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto

In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
Across the open field,, leaving the deep lane
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon
Where you lean against a bank while a van passes
And the deep lane insists on the direction
Into the village, in the elctric heat
Hypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry light
Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence
Wait for the early owl

In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie˜
A dignified and commodious sacrament
Two and two, necessarye coniunction

Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling
Eating and drinking.
Dung and death

Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning

II

What is the late November doing
With the disturbance of the spring
And creatures of the summer heat
And snowdrops writhing under feet
And hollyhocks that aim too high
Red into grey and tumble down
Late roses filled with early snow?
Thunder rolled by the rolling stars
Simulates triumphal cars
Deployed in constellated wars
Scorpion fights against the Sun
Until the Sun and Moon go down
Comets weep and Leonids fly
Hunt the heavens and the plains
Whirled in a vortex that shall bring
The world to that destructive fire
Which burns before the ice-cap reigns

That was a way of putting it - not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter
It was not (to start again) what one had expected
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to
Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us
Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders
Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
The serenity only a deliberate hebetude
The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
Useless in the darkness into which they peered
Or from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience
The knowledge inposes a pattern, and falsifies
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble
On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold
And menaced by monsters, fancy lights
Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rahter of their folly
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless

The houses are all gone under the sea

The dancers are all gone under the hill

III

O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark

And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral
Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away-
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing-
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth

You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstacy
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not

IV

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That quesions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind us of our, and Adam's curse
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere

The chill ascends from feet to knees
The fever sings in mental wires
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars


The dripping blood our only drink
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good

V

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted
, the years of l'entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate - but there is no competition -
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered
There is a time for the evening under starlight
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album)
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning

The Dry Salvages

(The Dry Salvages - presumably les trois sauvages - is a small
Group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann
Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced to rhyme with assuages
Groaner: a whistling buoy.)

I

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god - sullen, untamed and intractable
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
The only a problem confronting the builder of bridges
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities - ever, however, implacable
Keeping his seasons, and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting
His rhythm was present in the nursery bedroom
In the rank ailanthus of the April dooryard
In the smell of grapes on the autumn table
And the evening circle in the winter gaslight

The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land's edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale's backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices
Many gods and many voices
The salt is on the briar rose
The fog is in the fir trees
The sea howl
And the sea yelp, are different voices
Often together heard: the whine in the rigging
The menace and caress of wave that breaks on water
The distant rote in the granite teeth
And the wailing warning form the approaching headland
Are all sea voices, and the heaving groaner
Rounded homewards, and the seagull:
And under the oppression of the silent fog
The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried
Ground swell, a time
Older than the time of chronometers, older
Than time counted by anxious worried women
Lying awake, calculating the future
Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
And piece together the past and the future
Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception
The future futureless, before the morning watch
Whem time stops and time is never ending;
And the ground swell, that is and was from the beginning
Clangs
The bell

II

Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing
The silent withering of autumn flowers
Dropping their petals and remaining motionless;
Where is there and end to the drifting wreckage
The prayer of the bone on the beach, the unprayable
Prayer at the calamitous annunciation?

There is no end, but addition: the trailing
Consequence of further days and hours
While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
Years of living among the breakage
Of what was believed in as the most reliable-
And therefore the fittest for renunciation

There is the final addition, the failing
Pride or resentment at failing powers
The unattached devotion which might pass for devotionless
In a drifting boat with a slow leakage
The silent listening to the undeniable
Clamour of the bell of the last annunciation

Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
Into the wind's tail, where the fog cowers?
We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
Or of a future that is not liable
Like the past, to have no destination

We have to think of them as forever bailing
Setting and hauling, while the North East lowers
Over shallow banks unchanging and erosionless
Or drawing their money, drying sails at dockage;
Not as making a trip that will be unpayable
For a haul that will not bear examination

There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing
No end to the withering of withered flowers
To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless
To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage
The bone's prayer to Death its God. Only the hardly, barely prayable
Prayer of the one Annunciation

It seems, as one becomes older
That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence-
Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy
Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution
Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past
The moments of happiness - not the sense of well-being
Fruition, fulfilment, security or affecton
Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination—
We had the experience but missed the meaning
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness. I have said before
That the past experience revived in the meaning
Is not the experience of one life only
But of many generations - not forgetting
Something that is probably quite ineffable:
The backward look behind the assurance
Of recorded history, the backward half-look
Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror
Now, we come to discover that the moments of agony
(Whether, or not, due to misunderstanding
Having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things
Is not in question) are likewise permanent
With such permanence as time has. We appreciate this better
In the agony of others, nearly experienced
Involving ourselves, than in our own
For our own past is covered by the currents of action
But the torment of others remains an experience
Unqualified, unworn by subsequent attrition
People change, and smile: but the agony abides
Time the destroyer is time the preserver
Like the river with its cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops
The bitter apple, and the bite in the apple
And the ragged rock in the restless waters
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
On a halcyon day it is merely a monument
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by, but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was

III

I sometimes wonder if that is what Krishna meant-
Among other things - or one way of putting the same thing:
That the future is a faded song, a Royal Rose or a lavender spray
Of wistful regret for those who are not yet here to regret
Pressed between yellow leaves of a book that has never been opened
And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back
You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here
When the train starts, and the passengers are settled
To fruit, periodicals and business letters
(And those who saw them off have left the platform)
Their faces relax from grief into relief
To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours
Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left that station
Or who will arrive at any terminus
While the narrowing rails slide together behind you;
Watching the furrow that widens behind you
You shall not think "the past is finished"
Or "the future is before us"
At nightfall, in the rigging and the aerial
Is a voice descanting (though not to the ear
The murmuring shell of time, and not in any language)
"Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;
You are not those who saw the harbour
Receding, or those who will disembark
Here between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn, consider the future
And the past with an equal mind
At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: 'on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death' - that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action
Fare forward
O voyagers, O seamen
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea
Or whatever event, this is your real destination."
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle
Not fare well
But fare forward, voyagers

IV

Lady, whose shrine stands on the promontory
Pray for all those who are in ships, those
Whose business has to do with fish, and
Those concerned with every lawful traffic
And those who conduct them

Repeat a prayer also on behalf of
Women who have seen their sons or husbands
Setting forth, and not returning:
Figlia del tuo figlio
Queen of Heaven

Also pray for those who were in ships, and
Ended their voyage on the sand, in the sea's lips
Or in the dark throat which will not reject them
Or wherever cannot reach them the sound of the sea bell's
Perpetual angelus

V

To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits
To report the behaviour of the sea monster
Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry
Observe disease in signatures, evoke
Biography from the wrinkles of the palm
And tragedy from fingers; release omens
By sortilege, or tea leaves, riddle the inevitable
With playing cards, fiddle with pentagrams
Or barbituric acids, or dissect
The recurrent image into pre-conscious terrors-
To explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual
Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press:
And always will be, some of them especially
When there is distress of nations and perplexity
Whether on the shores of Asia, or in the Edgware Road
Men's curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime's death in love
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of evidence is actual
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled
Where action were otherwise movement
Of that which is only moved
And has in it no source of movement—
Driven by daemonic, chthonic
Powers. And right action is freedom
From past and future also
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realised;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying;
We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil


Little Gidding

I

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic
Whem the short day is brightest, with frost and fire
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches
In windless cold that is the heart's heat
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier
Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul's sap quivers. There is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading
Not in the scheme of generation
Where is the summer, the unimaginable
Zero summer?

If you came this way
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness
It would be the same at the end of the journey
If you came at night like a broken king
If you came by day not knowing what you came for
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone
. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city

But this is the nearest, in place and time
Now and in England

If you came this way
Taking any route, starting from anywhere
At any time or at any season
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid
. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying
And what the dead had no speech for, when living
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living

Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always

II

Ash on an old man's sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended
Dust inbreathed was a house-
The walls, the wainscot and the mouse

The death of hope and despair
This is the death of air

There are flood and drouth
Over the eyes and in the mouth
Dead water and dead sand
Contending for the upper hand
The parched eviscerate soil
Gapes at the vanity of toil
Laughs without mirth
This is the death of earth

Water and fire succeed
The town, the pasture and the weed
Water and fire deride
The sacrifice that we denied
Water and fire shall rot
The marred foundations we forgot
Of sanctuary and choir

This is the death of water and fire

In the uncertain hour before the morning
Near the ending of interminable night
At the recurrent end of the unending
After the dark dove with the flickering tongue
Had passed below the horizon of his homing
While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin
Over the asphalt where no other sound was
Between three districts whence the smoke arose
I met one walking, loitering and hurried
As if blown towards me like the metal leaves
Before the urban dawn wind unresisting
And as I fixed upon the down-turned face
That pointed scrutiny with which we challenge
The first-met stranger in the waning dusk
I caught the sudden look of some dead master
Whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled
Both one and many; in the brown baked features
The eyes of a familiar compound ghost
Both intimate and unidentifiable
So I assumed a double part, and cried
And heard another's voice cry: "What! are you here?"
Although we were not. I was still the same
Knowing myself yet being someone other—
And he a face still forming; yet the words sufficed
To compel the recognition they preceded
And so, compliant to the common wind
Too strange to each other for misunderstanding
In concord at this intersection time
Of meeting nowhere, no before and after
We trod the pavement in a dead patrol
I said: "The wonder that I feel is easy
Yet ease is cause of wonder. Therefore speak:
I may not comprehend, may not remember."
And he: "I am not eager to rehearse
My thoughts and theory which you have forgotten
These things have served their purpose: let them be
So with your own, and pray they be forgiven
By others, as I pray you to forgive
Both bad and good. Last season's fruit is eaten
And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice
But, as the passage now presents no hindrance
To the spirit unappeased and peregrine
Between two worlds become much like each other
So I find words I never thought to speak
In streets I never thought I should revisit
When I left my body on a distant shore
Since our concern was speech, and speech impelled us
To purify the dialect of the tribe
And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight
Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort
First, the cold fricton of expiring sense
Without enchantment, offering no promise
But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
As body and sould begin to fall asunder
Second, the conscious impotence of rage
At human folly, and the laceration
Of laughter at what ceases to amuse
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
Of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue
Then fools' approval stings, and honour stains
From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
Where you must move in measure, like a dancer."
The day was breaking. In the disfigured street
He left me, with a kind of valediction
And faded on the blowing of the horn

III

There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:
Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment
From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference
Which resembles the others as death resembles life
Being between two lives - unflowering, between
The live and the dead nettle. This is the use of memory:
For liberation - not less of love but expanding
Of love beyond desire, and so liberation
From the future as well as the past. Thus, love of a country
Begins as an attachment to our own field of action
And comes to find that action of little importance
Though never indifferent. History may be servitude
History may be freedom. See, now they vanish
The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them
To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern
Sin is Behovely, but
All shall be well, and
All manner of thing shall be well

If I think, again, of this place
And of people, not wholly commendable
Of not immediate kin or kindness
But of some peculiar genius
All touched by a common genius
United in the strife which divided them;
If I think of a king at nightfall
Of three men, and more, on the scaffold
And a few who died forgotten
In other places, here and abroad
And of one who died blind and quiet
Why should we celebrate
These dead men more than the dying?
It is not to ring the bell backward
Nor is it an incantation
To summon the spectre of a Rose
We cannot revive old factions
We cannot restore old policies
Or follow an antique drum
These men, and those who opposed them
And those whom they opposed
Accept the constitution of silence
And are folded in a single party
Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us - a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching


IV

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one dischage 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

V

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home
Taking its place to support the others
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious
An easy commerce of the old and the new
The common word exact without vulgarity
The formal word precise but not pedantic
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)

And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one

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