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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Because I do not hope to turn again...


I'm not the one for poetry, infact most of the time I don't even understand it. But this one just shook me. Its so incredibly simple and yet so meaningful.


Ash-Wednesday
by T S Eliot


Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again
Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice

Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain

Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.


posted by Niqabi at 1:39 PM

7 Comments:

Blogger Hasnain said...

That's beautiful...his own turmoil comes through very clearly.

3:03 PM

  Anonymous Irving Karchmar said...

Lovely indeed :) Thank you for posting it.

10:27 AM

  Blogger Niqabi said...

:)

8:42 AM

  Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you even know what it is about?
It is not lovely, is is tormenting.
Imagine a soul in purgatory...how long will that soul be there? How long will the torment continue? A minute and hour a day a year forever? That is what the poem is about.

11:54 AM

  Blogger Niqabi said...

Anonymous: Yes, i know what the poemis about. And yes I still find it amazing and meaningful.

This is not exactly a word of God and open to as many interpretations as one wants.

But thanks for your comment

2:51 AM

  Blogger Karem said...

Niqabi! Niqabi! Niqabi! You just discovered T S Eliot and the power of the word in the hands of a master.
Glad to see that you are mature enough to appreciate the magical imagery. One is transported to Eliot's world, even when one does not fully understand his works.
Continue with Eliot and I am with you.
A life-long T S Eliot Fan
karemishis@gmail.com

9:43 AM

  Anonymous woody weaver said...

> It is not lovely, is is tormenting.

It is, of course, both.

It was written by a man very late in his career, a powerful career with many accolades and impact. It was written by a man who in his early 20's wrote a love song that stunned Europe. It was written by a man that first rejected religion, then was surprisingly dominated by it -- so much so that the chief defect of the Quartets was that it was so religious. It was written by a man who was shortly to die, and knew of his incipient demise.

It is an adaptation of a 12th century formal song, the "farewell ballata", written by a brilliant Italian poet, also at the end of his life, who spent his whole life trying to understand love. His work on understanding spirit was a major element in the development of medicine in the Islamic Golden Age.

There is much sadness here; a looking backward, and knowing that things do end. That once mighty powers are laid low; that wings that once gave flight now only can beat the air. Shakespeare was more compact in Sonnet 15: "every thing that grows // Holds in perfection but a little moment."

But Eliot has more peace. He rejoices in the ways of things. He rejoices in having to come to terms with that ending. And he prays for comfort, with an oddly Buddhist "teach us to care, and not to care, and to sit still."

It is quite a remarkable work.

4:40 PM

 

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Name: Niqabi
Location: Lahore, Pakistan
Occupation: Housewife
Religion: Islam
Interests: World War II, Jews, Hebrew, ancient sites, Muslim rule in Spain, revolutions, Vatican city and Islamic literature.
Books: The black album, Portofino, Ladies coupe, In beautiful disguises, The buddhist of Suburbia, The hidden life of Otto Frank.
Contact: niqabified [at] gmail [dot] com
Quote: "We plan and Allah plans and Allah is the best of planners"


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