“Little Gidding,” Movement V: “The Fire and the Rose Are One”

So. Here we are, the final section of one of history’s richest poems, one of humanity’s finest explorations of the spiritual, and one of our most powerful, most open-hearted (strange to say that of T.S. Eliot, famous for his apparently straightlaced reserve … but remember, this is the man who wrote Old Possum’s Book of … Continue reading “Little Gidding,” Movement V: “The Fire and the Rose Are One”

The Unfamiliar Name: Little Gidding 4

We only live, only suspire / Consumed by either fire or fire Allegro, andante, scherzo, adagio, allegro vivace – the movements of a string quartet unfold over time, sharing themes, juxtaposing moods, pulling the players and listeners out of time through a medium that only exists in time’s relentless sequence. The quartets of Eliot function … Continue reading The Unfamiliar Name: Little Gidding 4

Pilgrimage and Prayer in “Midwinter spring”: “Little Gidding” Movement 1

In our end is in our beginning…. I began this series on T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets with a piece entitled “Pause or Journey,” thinking about what the experience of Lent might be—either as a moment to pause and reflect more deeply on our faith and on one’s own physical, psychological, and spiritual states, or as … Continue reading Pilgrimage and Prayer in “Midwinter spring”: “Little Gidding” Movement 1

“Water, water everywhere…”: Dry Salvages 2

“Dry Salvages” is Eliot’s “Water Quartet.” To the extent that the first two “Quartets” take place anywhere, they take place on land—often in a dry and barren land, sometimes in an equally barren and desolate urban landscape.  But at the beginning of “The Dry Salvages,” landscape changes to riverscape and then to seascape.  This is … Continue reading “Water, water everywhere…”: Dry Salvages 2

Voyage by River and Sea: “Dry Salvages,” Movement I

The Four Quartets is quite an outdoors poem. We have seascapes, country hamlets, bombed-out city scenes, gardens. Sometimes these are themselves, and much more often, maybe always, they reasonate with spiritual states. In The Waste Land, that unforgettably dreary, painful beginning, April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory … Continue reading Voyage by River and Sea: “Dry Salvages,” Movement I