We looked at this one stanza from Burnt Norton of TS Eliot today in class.
We are reading Caring for Words by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre and came
to the chapter on POETRY. They were to find a poem that does what Emily
“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I knowthat is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”
and a poem that has helped them spiritually or fed them deeply. They go back to it to get to the heart of the poet. We turned our attention to Eliot and the use of his word STILLNESS. ( after listing what words do and any Scripture connections). Where is stillness in our world? We tried to name some stillness.
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, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
Not that only, but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them. The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.