Monday, March 9, 2009

Little Gidding

Reading T.S. Eliot for the first time in a long time tonight,and newly impressed by his thought & prowess.

The opening from "Little Gidding" struck me as particularly meaningful and familiar, these frozen March days. Days like these I find myself pondering the uncomfortable (or sometimes too-comfortable) suspension between inertia (hibernation?) and growth (or "generation" as Eliot calls it later in the same poem). When this tension holds me between the two poles, I feel my own familiar life become strange territory in the witching hours of frozen, golden afternoons. As Eliot does, I ask "where is the summer?" I suppose it's the sun, plying the soul's sap with light.

"Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic,
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
In windless cold that is the heart’s heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier
Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but Pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul’s sap quivers. There is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the springtime
But not in time’s covenant..."

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