In a random reading of T. S. Eliot, I came across those words. (we have a copy of Selected Poems, Faber, 1954, in our stack of bathroom reading) I like to write where, when and why I buy books and this one says, “Ft. Rouge street fair 8/97 I hear T. S. from Lydia” I seems I was in the neighborhood I now live in at a street fair 15 years ago. Can’t remember it but it causes me to pause and go … ummm …
The page I opened was the beginning of Stanza VI of his poem entitled Ash – Wednesday 1930. It begins with an echo of the beginning – a conversion.
Ash – Wednesday 1930 – VI
Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I don not hope
Although I do not hope to turn
Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quicken to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth
This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.
Blesséd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks, Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee
There were a few lines that the “ears of my heart”, my soul / spirit seemed to “hear” – that momentary pause where words or memories or what you see seems somehow significant and when you ponder and meditate on what caused that “pause” you humbly realise it probably is the voice of your Creator sharing something significant or simple, just because.
Besides the “heart” reference that seems hopeful with growing resolve, I noticed “Between blue rocks” for some reason. Part of my meditation was going to the internet seeking other’s meditations / thoughts and came upon Graham Pechey’s suggestion that blue and white are colors of Mary. Now there’s someone who knew how to listen and ponder – Mary, not Pechey, although he sounds thoughtful. He concludes his comments with this reflection on poetry, writing, perhaps words / language in general, which reminded me of why I bought my latest book – but that’s another blog, coming soon to a WordPress near you.
Pechey concludes his T.S. Eliot’s Ash-Wednesday: an introduction by Graham Pechey, St Bene’t’s Church, 19 February 2012
Verse itself is like Mary, the lowly hand-maiden who is none the less magnified: Queen of Heaven because of her humility. Incantation renders audible the Incarnation. It is perhaps no coincidence that cries for Our Blessed Lady’s intercession punctuate and conclude Ash-Wednesday, given that verse is here working—haltingly, questioningly—to reconnect vision with reason, to reconcile love of God with love of the creature, and to enforce in the pattern of our Lenten turning the turning towards God of all that He has created.