"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words. " ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Saturday, January 14, 2012

This Year's Words

A HOUSE WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
"WE WILL SAY THIS POEM AGAIN AND AGAIN . . .
THERE IS NO END TO ANYTHING ROUND."
~ RUMI ~

*************************


"Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers."

from The Wasteland
by T. S. Eliot

A new year full of new words!

Some of the best New Year's words I know come from T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets":

Quartet No. 1: Burnt Norton
Quartet No. 2: East Coker
Quartet No. 3: The Dry Salvages
Quartet No. 4: Little Gidding.

These are perfect poems for the re-beginning cycle, dealing as they do with the human experience of past, present, and future and our place within time.

In the first quartet, Eliot imagines the simultaneous existence of past, present, and future:

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.

"Burnt Norton" (from section I)

In the fourth quartet, some things, like "last year's words" can be left in the past, while "next year's words" remain in the future. In my post last month, I quoted Salman Rushdie as saying that "the home we make . . . is anywhere, and everywhere, except the place from which we began." Eliot, however, brings us back around:

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice . . .
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 . . .
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.*

"Little Gidding" (from sections II & V)

*These great lines from Eliot have already
appeared a couple of times previously on this blog:
see ~ "Three Passions"
and ~ "Parallax"

On the topic of wintry words, you may remember this one from
last January,
but here it is again, always a favorite:

"Antiphanes said merrily,
that in a certain city the cold was so intense
that words were congealed as soon as spoken,
but that after some time
they thawed and became audible;
so that the words spoken in winter
were articulated next summer."

Plutarch, (46 - 120)
1st Century Biographer
born Greek but later became a Roman citizen

A Little Window on Winter

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS FOR MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Saturday, 28 January 2012

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com


Snow at last!
Time to winterize your croquet set!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Kitti, for putting the Eliot quote in context for me.
    And I love the pic of snow on the crochet set.

    ReplyDelete