So I did a search on google on my blog name. Why? well various silly reasons, one of them being that I thought Dreamhost was being idiotic again and flapping my website and I wanted to be sure. And for some weird reason I call up the URL of my old blog when I start typing. And on a whim. And I found there are at least two other women (girls? they are much younger than me) with the same blog name.
And of course it’s a big world and there will always be duplication. But The Dry Salvages and T.S. Eliot have always been deeply important to me. I even have a first edition of The Four Quartets. From the first moment I read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock I knew I’d found a lifelong fascination, adoration. And now I find myself living in, well, parts of The Dry Salvages. It is strange how Eliot has always spoken to me, both my heart and my mind. I was raised Episcopalian and Unitarian–much like (and still unlike, Eliot). Unitarians of his age were very different than Unitarians of today, still there is a connection. And the Episcopalian church, the only Christian Church I’ve been able to continue to feel good connection to, is the US arm of the Anglican Church he joined later in life. In my own small way I’ve struggled with the issues of personal writing, being too cerebral (friends have often told me I think for months before I actually feel) the nature of the divine and my spiritual needs and responsibilities. Because they are there and always out of step with those around me–either too new age or too christian or just too different. I don’t quite have the ability to place this in a larger context, as Eliot did so masterfully probably because I don’t think well enough of my observances. He says what my mind and heart speak in their private language to each other.
The Dry Salvages are especially meaningful at this point in my life and the line my blog name is quoting is especially meaningful. When I was younger (and still today) music was very important to me. It’s been an actual haven, a nearly tangible locale to step away from the needs of the day or a place of safety to feel the frightening things that arise. And in that time of the song, or the group of songs –I become that music. And I used to dance in a way that made me even more a part of the music . That’s something I miss and I’m not sure I’ll regain. But it gives me hope that ‘the past and future are conquered and reconciled,” at least it’s possible for some and perhaps possible for me.
To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits,
To report the behaviour of the sea monster,
Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry,
Observe disease in signatures, evoke
Biography from the wrinkles of the palm
And tragedy from fingers; release omens
By sortilege, or tea leaves, riddle the inevitable
With playing cards, fiddle with pentagrams
Or barbituric acids, or dissect
The recurrent image into pre-conscious terrors—
To explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual
Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press:
And always will be, some of them especially
When there is distress of nations and perplexity
Whether on the shores of Asia, or in the Edgware Road.
Men’s curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime’s death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled,
Where action were otherwise movement
Of that which is only moved
And has in it no source of movement—
Driven by daemonic, chthonic
Powers. And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realised;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying;
We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil.