T.S. Eliot

“In my beginning is my end.”
“In my beginning is my end.”
I couldn’t leave Dorset without nipping across the border to Somerset and paying my respects to another great poet, T.S. Eliot. Although I have a newish copy of Four Quartets, we spent several happy days searching second-hand book shops for a vintage copy – all to no avail.

I did however, manage to secure a 1948 copy of Old Possums Book of Practical Cats (to Julia, love Peter 18th July 1990) and a rummage around in a metal trunk in the National Trust’s second-hand books selection produced a copy of Eliot’s Selected Poems from 1952 (for Shirley A Eastman, St Anne’s College, Oxford, from Suzanne. March 1953.
Don’t you just love the inscriptions in second-hand books?
Who were Julia and Peter?
Who were Shirley and Suzanne?
T. S. Eliot’s ashes are buried at St Michael’s Church, East Coker. We happened along an hour before a funeral (we hope you got a good send off, Enid May, aged 88 – your flowers were beautiful) and were given permission to pop in and view Eliot’s plaque.
It’s difficult to pick a favourite from The Four Quartets. Each poem has its own charm and leaves the reader reflecting on one’s relationship with time, the universe and the divine.
In Burnt Norton, the first poem written, I love the meander through the rose garden.
“Go, go, go, said the bird… “

And, as a writer of time slip, The Travelling Philanthropist (https://amzn.to/3AFs9oV), I cannot fail to be moved by:

“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.”
I adore the imagery of “The wall, the wainscot and the mouse” in Little Gidding, and the sea images in The Dry Salvages:
“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.”
But I think these are my favourite verses from East Coker:
“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.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *