American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic
T. S. Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot
American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic
The winter evening settles down with smell of steaks in passageways. Six o'clock. The burnt-out ends of smoky days. And now a gusty shower wraps the grimy scraps of withered leaves about your feet. And newspapers from vacant lots; the showers beat on broken blinds and chimney-pots, and at the corner of the street a lonely cab-horse steams and stamps. And then the lighting of the lamps.
There's no vocabulary for love within a family, love that's lived in but not looked at, love within the light of which all else is seen, the love within which all other love finds speech. This love is silent.
This oval O cropped out with teeth.
Twelve o'clock. Along the reaches of the street Held in a lunar synthesis.
We don't actually fear death, we fear that no one will notice our absence, that we will disappear without a trace.
What have we to do but stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards in an age which advances progressively backwards?
Who is the third who walks always beside you? When I count, there are only you and I together but when I look ahead up the white road there is always another one walking beside you gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded I do not know whether a man or a woman -But who is that on the other side of you?
You will go on, and when you have prevailed. You can say: at this point many a one has failed. But what have I, but what have I, my friend, to give you, what can you receive from me? Only the friendship and the sympathy of one about to reach her journey's end. I shall sit here, serving tea to friends...
It is a test (a positive test, I do not assert that it is always valid negatively), that genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
Lady of silences Calm and distressed Torn and most whole Rose of memory Rose of forgetfulness Exhausted and life-giving Worried reposeful The single Rose Is now the Garden Where all loves end Terminate torment Of love unsatisfied The greater torment Of love satisfied End of the endless Journey to no end Conclusion of all that Is inconclusible speech without word and word of no speech. Grace to the Mother for the garden where all love ends.
My external sensations are no less private to myself than are my thoughts or my feelings. In either case my experience falls within my own circle, a circle closed on the outside; and, with all its elements alike, every sphere is opaque to the others which surround it. . . . In brief, regarded as an existence which appears in a soul, the whole world for each is peculiar and private to that soul.
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; Am an attendant lord, one that will do To swell a progress, start a scene or two Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, Deferential, glad to be of use, Politic, cautious, and meticulous; Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; At times, indeed, almost ridiculous- Almost, at times, the Fool.
Only the fool, fixed in his folly, may think he can turn the wheel on which he turns.
Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
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.
That makes me so digress?
The end is where we start from.
The one thing you can do is to do nothing. Wait . . . You will find that you survive humiliation and that's an experience of incalculable value.
The word within a word, unable to speak a word.
There's no water here is just a rock, rock with no water and the sandy road. The road winding among the mountains above us between rocks boulders without water. If there were water and drank standing but among the rocks, or think you cannot afford a pot and dry feet stuck in the sand. If it were water flowed from the rock. Dead mountain mouth is rotten teeth cannot spit. Here you cannot afford to sit or lie, I is not even silence in the mountains only dry sterile thunder without rain, and even solitude in the mountains is not only gloomy red faces - mock and scoff. At the door of the cracked clay huts if there were water and no rock. If there were rock but water and the water source in the rock pond if there was even the sound of water. A cicada is not dry grass and singing. But sound of water the rock where the hermit thrush-singing among pines. Krop drip drip drip drip full stop drip. But there is no water Who is the third who walks always beside you? If we count, we are just you and me But when I look ahead into the white road always someone else walks beside you, STAP wrapped brown jacket, the hood I do not know if it's a woman or a man - who is this, who is going after your other side? What is the sound high in the air murmur of maternal lamentation What is the hordes in hoods, as swarms of the endless plains, stuck on cracked earth surrounded by the flat horizon only What is the city over the mountain chain breaks and heals and splatters - in purple wind collapsing towers.
Those who trust us educate us.
Twentieth-century art may start with nothing, but it flourishes by virtue of its belief in itself, in the possibility of control over what seems essentially uncontrollable, in the coherence of the inchoate, and in its ability to create its own values.
We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form.
What is actual is actual only for one time, and only for one place.
Why should men love the Church? Why should they love her laws? She tells them of Life and Death, and of all they would forget. She is tender where they would be hard, and hard where they like to be soft. She tells them of Evil and Sin, and other unpleasant facts. They constantly try to escape from the darkness outside and within by dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.