March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

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.

- - T. S. Eliot サ "Ash Wednesday"

Posted by gerardvanderleun at March 5, 2014 1:11 AM
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Thank you. How appropriate for today.

I found Eliot when I entered college in 1961. On my own; even then Eliot was not part of the humanities curriculum we engineers took. I doubt he's part of the English curriculum in most colleges today.

He was instantly one of my favorite poets, even though I don't understand half his stanzas, and I was raised Catholic in the old style.

My other favorite is Yeats, another Catholic. Something must have stuck.

Why is there no poetry being written any more? I have a whole self of modern poetry, authors recommended by the English faculty at Kenyon, that barely scans. I do like Berry, however. Mostly because he reminds me of Frost.

Posted by: bob sykes at March 5, 2014 4:20 AM

I apologize. I forgot where I was. I'm getting old. Some of your stuff is pretty good. The pseudo-Frost below is interesting.

Posted by: bob sykes at March 5, 2014 4:42 AM

Beautiful, Gerard, and thank you.
Mr. Sykes, never having been to college, I can't answer your question, but of late, my favorite poets are the ones you have listed, along with Auden, Manley and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. For starters...

Posted by: Jewel at March 5, 2014 12:33 PM

The power of poetry is that it can lead the mind anywhere.
I went from seeing a narrow winding staircase to heaven with stations of the cross to looking up the youtube version of the Byrds- "Turn! Turn! Turn !

We can intellectually struggle to find God, or we can just open up and he will enter.

Posted by: grace at March 6, 2014 1:32 AM