Monthly Archives: December 2011
Editorial: This colloquialism describes the rush actors get on stage. I love its poetry and the gist it evokes.
I am bowled over by the amount of energy we humans spend on our daily performances. We have so many roles to play: deli customer, brother-in-law, subway rider, employee, professor, sports fan, sonbrotherhusbandfather. It is endless. I find that in some instances I slide right into roles effortlessly—because they just are. Other times I need to pause and reset before the show can go on. Problems arise if I make the transition from role to role too quickly, for instance I can be too brusque when I go from coworker to adviser or from subway rider to father. But in all these roles, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary, if you can remember to breadth in, if you can remember to open your ears, the thrill of life (the smell… the roar…) is palpable.
The scale of the human socio-economic-political complex system is so large that it seriously interferes with the biospheric complex system upon which it is wholly dependent, and cultural evolution has been too slow to deal effectively with the resulting crisis.
Four Quartets (selection)
Quartet IV, ‘Little Gidding’, Part I
by T. S. Eliot
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 the 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 spring time
But not in time’s covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
Not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable
If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world’s end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city—
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and in England.
If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always.
Editorial: This is Part I of ‘Little Gidding’, the fourth quarter of T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’. The whole work has layers of meaning which can be explored and enjoyed. This selection speaks about this time of year (winter, the liturgical season of Advent, heading into Christmas), when movement and busyness are on the rise—we with our dumb spirits coming and going, seeking, wanting, hoping. It reminds us what to do and what profound things can follow. It is mesmerizing and mystical. (Thanks to RTM for sharing).