Monday, June 23, 2014

Excerpts from TS Eliot's "Four Quartets" [Part I]

"Burnt Norton"

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.

Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious in not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden...
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.

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...

"East Coker"

...Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather 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.

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.

Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter...
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion...


  1. Oh my wow! amazing! The first part of East Coker is amazing! Love it! The second half makes me uncomfortable. ;) And I also think it relates to what he was talking about in the first half of Burnt Norton. Things to think on for sure, thanks for sharing this!

    1. These are definitely just excerpts, but, yes, some of them make me uncomfortable - but they make me want to understand the world and people and myself in new ways.