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Set is marked "Late 1970's/Early 1980's"; #item-set-161


We might just go to the first of the four quartets, Bert Norton, and try to give a fairly careful reading of that one poem. When Eliot wrote this in 1936, there is a kind of a sequence of his significant, some of his significant writings. He didn't conceive this as the first of the four quartets. He didn't have in mind three other long poems in parallel with this. This was a later intuition. He saw this as the final work to go in a book of collected poems. So if we don't get beyond it today, if we consider it simply in its own right, that is proper in terms of his original conception of it. The later poems are then, from East Coker on, written you see four years later, are conceived as in strict kind of musical parallel with Bert Norton and presupposing it and building


on it and moving forward, etc. So then one wants to see the interrelations. But at this point, it's kind of forced to try to project them into the future. A main tool I'll be using is this professor at the Graduate Theological Union, Jim Liguri, who died last year rather tragically of a sudden heart attack, much beloved. This is his doctoral thesis on Eliot's, just his four quartets, and one work of Wallace Stephen's, about 400 pages. He basically taught at the Graduate Theological Union Shakespeare, Dante, and Eliot. These were his three beloved. And he tends to read Eliot in the light of Dante and Shakespeare. This is quite appropriate because Eliot notes that Dante was perhaps the major influence on his spirit and on his work, and Shakespeare comes right in there next.


But he particularly reads Eliot in the light of Eliot. He knows the whole corpus of Eliot. So if there is an obscure line, as occasionally there is in Eliot, he looks at it in terms of parallel affirmations, insights, etc., in the plays and in the earlier poetry. It's an interesting hermeneutic. He himself, Jim Liguri, is a serious poet, and his works are about to be published. His story is interesting. It's not just an academic interest in Eliot. He was a born Catholic, fell away from the faith, and then slowly started moving back with much pain and doubt. And it was Eliot that was decisive in his coming back to the Church. He read Eliot's four quartets, especially with Robert Bella. They would meet about once a week over a period of two and a half years to discuss the four quartets together. And at the end of that, Robert Bella entered the Episcopal Church, and he entered the Catholic


Church. And so it's a wrestling with Eliot, I think, that sees all the problems, ambiguity, shortcomings of Eliot, but that has been profoundly shaped by Eliot. So it's a kind of an existential engagement with Eliot. So and it's not just he. What it is is a kind of a compendium of all the commentaries on Eliot up till then. This is a very recent work, 82, so that all the others, Bush and Moody are there, and he uses them and contrasts them and notes how he differs, etc. There's some 50 significant books that are commenting on Eliot's poetry. Eliot's production is quite reduced. It can all be put in one volume, but there's libraries written about him. There's many more books written about him, but 50 major significant books, not to mention


all the articles, many very much in favor, many idolizing, many furious against him, etc. But there is a significant corpus. And Liguori has tried to work through all that. So that's, if at any point there are questions, comments, objections, personal abuse. So you all have Bert Norton. Why don't we start, Liguori's thesis is that we shouldn't underestimate Eliot. If he has a word there, if he has an image, he meant it. He thought through it, anguished over it. It's extremely carefully crafted. It's not just thrown together, arbitrary, haphazard, it's not chance. Eliot was anything but a rushed craftsman. So that Liguori's approach is to wrestle with every line, with every word, not just to


go to lines that are helpful, and I prefer that because it's a lot easier, but to see how one paragraph, one stanza works into another, contrasts with it, etc. So that will be the attempt here, that's why we're going so slow. I took this class of Liguori, he died midway through, but we spent about 20 minutes just on the title of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. There's a lot of irony there, a lot of fun, a lot of anger, etc., but this is his Methodism, very intensively going into each element. The danger is, I say Jesus, is reading into, and he's very aware of that, but he would prefer to err on that side than just to kind of skim read Eliot. So the title refers to this house in England where Eliot had stayed that had burned down,


so it's a home no longer there, just the charred remains. And this is interesting, he'll be pondering this business of the past, the past that was for him very alive, that reminded him of his own home back in America, that impacted his life, but at one level was no longer at home in the sense of family, community, others, events cut off now from the present. This very mysterious problem for the human being of time, and time, the still point, the eternal chaos order, these are major issues of this poem, as of all his works. And then the future poems will take these up, work with them, he'll propose a thesis, affirm it, then contradict it, slightly alter it, he's not a simple man or of simple positions.


So, then we have some lines in Greek, what are they all about? Whose is it from? That's right. And do we know what it says? The A is what they had with them. Uh-huh. And the other one is the Logos. Yeah. Now what I came across with that first is that Xenos is in common, though the Logos is common to all. Let's just take a look at our slides. Could you say that one slowly, Robert? Although the Logos is a common, in a sense, or is available, or is of the same for all of humanity,


the majority live as if they had their own understanding. There again, for many of his poems, there are these epigrams at the beginning. Prufrock, it was from Dante, et cetera. Again, this is important. Eliot could very easily have not put this there. He could have easily put it there in translation. He could have picked something else. Liguri stresses the creative power of the poet. It's at least a weak analogy to the creative power of God. He's got this blank page, and he picks some things and puts them there. And so then we've got this other one. The way upward and the way downward are one and the same. Why would he put these here? How do they help? Or how do they not help? This will infuriate some of his readers. If you read a nice devotional poem in the Catholic Register,


it probably will not begin with texts in Greek from Heraclitus. Some will immediately see here this snob, aristocratic elitist who is showing off or something. His defenders would suggest that this is the only way Eliot could do it. Eliot wants to be in contact with the whole of human struggling over what it's all about right back to the pre-Socratics. And he wants to revivify that today, articulate it, wrestle with it, etc. He is a person of memory, a nominissus. This is very paradoxical because his first poem, Krufrock, represents this radical break in the kind of romantic tradition of the 19th century. We started in Liguri's class contrasting what immediately came before him as just presupposed as the way poetry should be.


Browning and Tennyson and even Arnold. And then Krufrock came upon the scene just as a nuclear bomb, so to speak. It horrified many. It challenged many. But poetry in English has never been the same. So in some ways, he's a revolutionary who cuts off at least from the immediate past. But he would say it's because of what for him was the sterility and the, again, the cramped individualism of the immediate romantic past to open up to a longer anguished heritage that goes right back to the pre-Socratics. He's wrestling with the problem of the splintering of the modern world. Each person is involved in his or her own locus, his or her own set of meanings and values and goals. And we can hardly communicate anymore. Though ultimately, the logos is common. Then there's this very other side of Heraclitus


whose intellectual change and a pantare, all things change, etc. This within the embrace, as it were, of logos. And then paradox. It's hard to find a page of Eliot where there's not heavy paradox. This is in the tradition of the Anglican divines of a George Herbert, a Donne. It's a way of stretching beyond the written word into mystery. It's, you say this and you say that, which seems absolutely the contrary of this. And you have to hold both of them in dialectic, and somehow beyond that. So you've got the way up and you've got the way down. Clearly, they're absolutely contrary. No, they're one and the same thing. And he'll work this out in, for him, a key dimension in the poem. So you've got the problem, to put it in Babel terms, of the fragmentation of the modern world and individualism. Robert Bella is much into this and how this can destroy the individual.


Very much the problem of the modern poet who can't just serenely insert himself or herself in a clear heritage as a medieval poet might. But it's especially the problem of Western civilization. And then this paradox. Does that help? Problems? Objections? But it does suggest, if Eliot is not a sham or a pretense, that this is kind of majorly poetry. This is poetry for the poet with all the problems of that or for the person who's prepared to sit down and struggle over a long period. There's not immediate, easy, accessible availability of Eliot's message. Some of his major commentators who have spent years with him will simply say, a whole major passage is not susceptible to explanation. Which is a nice way of saying we don't know what the devil


he's talking about. So it's hardball baseball or something like that. There's interesting parallels. He knows the poetry of his time. He knows the medievals, the mystics. He almost got his doctorate in philosophy in Bradley. So there's lots of this going on. Remember in St. Bernard who's asked to write on the degrees of humility. He says, I can't because humility is so lacking on me. I can write on the degrees of pride. If you'll simply turn that around it's the same thing because you can take the same path downward into pride or the same path


upward into humility. So the medievals are also very much into this same paradox. And if you think about it the same road does go up and down. But he'll do more with that. He'll say we have to, as the rule says, we have to abase ourselves to be lifted up. We've got to go into the very depths of the human spirit to ascend. And here he's very close to Dante who remember when he finds himself in the woods and he's lost. But he sees this glimmer up above of the heavenly horizon. He wants to immediately go there. He can't. He's stopped by these four beasts. He has to turn around and paradoxically go right in the opposite direction through hell. And Eliot very much likes this. For Eliot the struggle is a tremendous struggle with all kinds of pain and brokenness, etc. But it is a struggle. It is a journey that does have the glimmer. So there's this paradox in Eliot of lots of


heavy anguish of meaninglessness, depression, death, and then these incredible moments of breakthrough. There's another question about those two quotes. You may be pretty sure who said it. But one of them seems, the first thing they put down was a moment of fragmentation. Like the irreversible decline of history as Eliot saw it in the sense that he was going through a period where it's the same history but the way up and the way down are the same. Consequently the only way you can go up is to follow that declining history. Perhaps as incarnation. Perhaps follow it all the way. And you're taking the road up which seems impossibly because it's disappeared. And this is the way of Eliot. Eliot articulates this of anguish, this stupidity, this brokenness of the modern experience, some would say, as no other poet has through Prufrock, Wasteland, Hollow Man. When these first came out, Liguri read us


some of the quotes from the anguished, the despairing existentialists, the atheists. Finally our people have found their voice. Finally poetry liberated from faith. So Eliot has gone that whole way. And after his baptism and confirmation it's not as if his poetry becomes terribly lightsome and cheery and the same heaviness and depression and anguish is always there. But now with these moments of breakthrough. Some have argued in that sense that Eliot is closer to us today in 1986 than he was when he was getting the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Italian Dante Award and the German Goethe Award and all these honorary doctorates over Europe, etc. This was towards the ending of the war and there was this easy optimism that now comes brotherhood and the triumph of


American democracy, etc. But he was never optimistic about that. He was sorrowful during the war and very engaged in the fight against Nazism and Fascism. Immediately when the war was over he was depressed that things were still caught in that emptiness of values and meaning and significance. So he's not your cheery Degury was interesting. He found the post-Vatican II period very difficult because some of that was this easy optimism of balloons and guitar and now we're in the new age and it's all very simple. For Eliot there's a profound sadness to the human condition. You do have to go through hell and purgatory to have glimpses of heaven. So as I say there's this amazing recovery in some ways of Eliot that is a very important biography. It's just been published. It's making all kinds of waves


of important play out about Eliot's early life with his wife. Jim Degury his class on Eliot astonished him. It was packed at the Graduate Theological Union. All these classes available. It's kind of like a huge Safeway supermarket. You go through and think. He thought that if you were to offer a course on Eliot there'd be three or four there for kind of a little seminar. And the class was packed and we had to go to another room and he was wondering aloud what other contemporary poet could do that? Students from all the major seminaries, all the major denominational backgrounds women, men, people going after the priesthood, people lay ministry. What was it? Shakespeare still brings them in. Dante somewhat. But there's still a power here and as I see some say Eliot is challenging us anew in the very dark


apocalyptic age of the 80s in a way that he couldn't in the 60s. So his incredible poetic gifts were recognized. On the other hand this is to others are as infuriated with him today as they were in the past. Degury's thesis is interesting for that. He studies most of it is on Eliot's Four Quartets but he looks at Wallace Stevens, a major work of his. And Stevens very much did not like Eliot and the feeling was mutual. And Degury probes that and it's fascinating. His thesis is that it's eventually not an either or but that each challenges the other, illumines the other and that they must be seen in this dialectic conjunction. Eliot


very often is a person that stirs up yeses or noes or maybes. Though he himself was remarkably humble. There's lots of tentative in his proposal of his poetry, in his proposal of his point of view, his personal anguish. His success caught him quite by surprise and he didn't quite know what to make of it but there's some lovely quotes of his. He was not kind of a cultural imperialist. No one is good enough to have the right to make another over in his own image. As we'll see now there's much that is tentative here. Hesitant. He is proof wrong. He's anguished. Just for a point of reference there is in fact I would estimate I can't say this certainly but the majority of the major critical voices today in literature would


actually attribute Eliot as very much in a romantic position. That's what allows us to talk because when I took my college class in the 1960s, Eliot was really taking a task as critical as the so-called criticism that emerged from the Eliot poem here and just simply take a poem by itself, abstract it from the songs and from its history and just look at the poem. The kind of works that stemmed from post-1920s like the various Valentine, all these other people the new criticism that looked to Eliot as their spiritual father. So that's really been just totally taken apart by the majority of criticism today. So this critical


in the last phase of his evaluations of the literature which has been very and then his own poetry surprisingly enough is now evaluated more like he's really much more in the line of romanticism than he himself was able to evaluate like that. So where is Beck's line of that's all kinds of interesting quotes in there but that's interesting the evaluation I think now implies that in fact there's still very much more in the stream of romanticism still of certain proof rocks language changes in between that and say Keats or Shelley or whatever Harry Brown or are not as significant as a certain other elements that are really part of romantic and that he's much more subjective


than he really manifests on first glance so those are just common critical evaluations. Regarding his critical essays and particularly his critical theory he's a very complicated man there's a whole evolution there but his early period he wants to challenge a kind of an academic approach to art that if I can just know enough about where this person came from and have enough bibliography and enough facts about that will safeguard me from having to be confronted and threatened by the work itself and I think but then he did evolve into quite a different position with his faith stance so there's the early Eliot and then the later Eliot as he himself recognizes now I think he would still say there's great value to that early affirmation and in fact some of the contemporary


prefer that because it frees them from the whole issue of faith stances etc but again what he's trying to do you're a certain I think you can talk about majority and minority but many think that this was very important to purify the whole poetry venture from the heavily academic one of the lines of Prufrock is that I'm pinned up like a butterfly I'm just dissected and analyzed he wants the poem to confront us and challenge us and either appall us or transform us or something and so Liguri's method he says you want to read Eliot read the poem six nine times then maybe go to secondary sources then do all kinds of other things but then go back to the poem I think a great deal can be said but then again his later critical essays he quite modifies that and says but for those in the faith stance they can't


simply put that in parenthesis as some argue but that they must evaluate a work in terms of the faith or non-faith or ideological content of that work but one of the things that Ephraim mentioned he just finished his Bachelor of Literature is how much of the critical essays of Eliot are still read and wrestled with he's not just a poet he's also a dramatist and not just that but he's written on the French poets and the Anglican divines etc. and those essays can't be ignored he was editor of Faber and Faber and he enabled a whole generation of artists to emerge also many quite different from his own because of a kind of capacity to open to other voices than his own so I think that can be said on the other side now the romantic this is a big debate but I think clearly


it's how you define the terms but one of the things Eliot understood himself to be doing from the beginning was a purifying of the poetic endeavor reacting against sentiment he's an extremely tough poet easy emotion there's tremendous emotion at the deeper level in him that can hardly be articulated in word or image but he doesn't like just cheerfulness or easy gloom either a certain individualism that wants to create its own world etc. so I think one of the key things there is how you define your terms but I think you have to take him seriously in the sense that he was no fool and he understood himself as breaking with the romantic now one can reinterpret redefine the romantic and then embrace him this is always a game that can go on in the literary world and


very possibly the next generation will redefine it and he'll be put outside again but one of the approaches is through his own self-understanding of how he stood relative to a Browning or a lower Tennyson and as he understands it, it's a dramatic break Question Have you seen anybody that gives an adequate explanation of the title Quartets? Well, yeah, we'll get into that. A major source for this here is Beethoven is the whole musical analogy where is that quote? So he's not just into the written word or the spoken word in drama. He writes in terms of his the music of poetry, the use of recurrent themes is as natural to poetry as to music There are possibilities reverse which bear some analogy to the development of a theme by different groups of instruments


There are possibilities of transitions in a poem comparable to the different movements of a symphony or a quartet. There are possibilities of contrapuntal arrangement of subject matter. It is in the concert room rather than in the opera house that the germ of a poem may be quickened Yeah, this is he on his own so he is very consciously working with the challenge of music because for him poetry is closer and especially to the quartet mode. Yeah, I'm wondering if we should be looking listening for four voices Well, certainly not in the first because he doesn't yet have That's right but later what we have is four voices in the sense that the second quartet presupposes the first, is taking the same themes but working in variations on them, is opening the way to further development. It gets extremely complicated. There are five movements in each quartet each movement parallels in each of the four quartets etc.


So there's extremely intricate analyses of the structure, something like the structure of Bach or Beethoven This is an analysis of the structure of Burt Morton that we're looking at There's a whole pattern up and down There's a photo in his biography of his analyzing his cocktail party in terms of the first scene, the second extremely complicated and structured Again, he carefully crafts his work and we'll hear, I think repetitions, developments certain themes Listen for a word like still, stillness It'll come up in all kinds of contexts pointing in all kinds of different directions Just the theme of time, past, future, present is a word that can mean all kinds of things but... Indeed Yes, and in the second


movement, for instance, he often goes into a very tight, structured metrically form of a poem whereas in the first, it's free verse et cetera, so he's, it's like the slow movement, the fast movement, et cetera so one wants to be very attentive to transitions and repetitions So, the first lines Now, we're going to listen at the end to Elliot reading this Now, Elliot says the words themselves must carry the full weight He's not into dramatic reading so it's almost a flat monotonous reading He wants to understate rather than overstate the weight, the emphasis I'll do the opposite He himself says there's nothing more authoritative about the poet's own reading of his poem than of the composer's own conducting of his music He himself uses this parallel It's just, he says, what makes it interesting is this is the way the poem


sounded to the inner ear of the poet when he was done. Well, I think there is an authoritative character to his reading. I'm just going to emphasize for kind of didactic purpose here, but then you'll hear though, if you listen carefully, there's a subtle heaviness or sadness or excitement almost little glimmers of joy sometimes in his reading but as I say, you'll note quite a different way of my reading than his simply for pedagogical So here's the first movement, you see that one there, that also is important he could have not put that there, but he did that's in terms of a quartet Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future and time future contained in time past If


all time is eternally present, all time is unredeemable What might have been is an abstraction remaining a perpetual possibility only in a world of speculation Now here are three sentences punctuation is extremely important. What's happening here? Is he doing a kind of a philosophy of time? Is he pontificating on the relation of past and future to kind of instruct us? Is it didactic? What's the mood? What's the ultimate intention and meaning? First of all, note the theme it's not about a little birdie chirping in the forest I came across a poem one of our friends wrote while he was here he went down and saw a


seal flap around in the water thought that was pleasant and wrote a poem this is about something rather weightier Eliot sometimes writes about pussy cats, etc. Old Possum's book of practical cats, which is now the most sold out musical in San Francisco and he's got an incredible range from light sarcastic to heavy but it can be argued that this is the culmination of his poetry, though not all agree with that and he does tend to focus on issues that are classical this is an issue that would occupy very much, for instance, a Heraclitus the relation of time, flux change, history Aristotle, Plato these are biggies Augustine, there's a famous line in Confessions if I don't reflect on it, time is the most evident and obvious thing in the world


but when I start to think about it it's the most mysterious and if you think time here not just as the watch two minutes ago but if you think of the people I encountered in the past the house burnt down that is no longer the people I might encounter in the future, the things I did in the past that changed my life, the things that I didn't do in the past the things I might have done in the past all of that it starts to be a kind of a major theme he's trying to tackle here I was going to say that to me it almost is not a slightly abstract language and secondly it doesn't feel you don't have him starting off by having you look at something it isn't a visual or a sensory he's provoking reflection and thinking like that


so it's interesting that the first thing isn't sight or smell or touch like that but you're feeling it on the level hmm extremely important he's capable of the extremely concrete image he's famous for this what he calls objective correlation, he feels here is these deepest mysterious experiences in us that can't be articulated but there might be some image out there that powerfully evokes it as closely as we can so he will in fact have a bird crying and he has rose gardens, it's kind of providential that Therese brought these roses this is a central image for him as interestingly it is for Dante, the garden was a decisive reading in the first reading today of scriptures, so he's capable of that but as you say, he has chosen almost a philosophical language and he's chosen that


it's intentional he seems to be rounding out as it were, all the possibilities time past, time future time present and forth and then he's funneling it all into the present time present and equal and is he explaining the way it is in a kind of didactic is he explaining the precise relation of present and past you're saying no, why is that? well I think throughout I too thought he was beginning in a philosophical reflective way, but I think he maintains that mystery the whole time, for me he really set me into a pondering state of mind ah, that's interesting with much mystery in it he's not, if I was to say I was happy when I got to the rose garden there's a key word, as if he begins with a conclusion that seems like it might come at the end of something and then all time is the present, all time is unrepeatable


where did that come from? it's a mysterious beginning there's a key word in the second line are both perhaps that's a key word that immediately distances, it puts into a perplexity anguish so he's not pontificating here in an easy way to give us the explanation of what it's all about uncertainty ah, that perhaps immediately suggests mysterious wrestling with an enigma I have seen it as a koan that you couldn't interpret the words literally and make sense of it, you had to go to some other dimension of your mind in order to pull apart the meaning it's an interesting parallel, the early Elliot


in Harvard is very attracted to Buddhism, and knows very much the Buddhist and the Hindu heritage, he studied Sanskrit, and there's all kinds of references to the Upanishads, and there is a presence of paradox in him, what he is in fact doing is preparing through a man-pondering struggling wrestling for a whole different breakthrough, but that he himself can't achieve through his own anguished speculations so the koan analogy is very interesting, he's wrestling and he's coming up with three different positions and you can't put them easily together and at the end we're not illumined by time we're anguished and then something dramatic happens as we'll see well, Liguri


argues precisely that he's playing with three different theses here that cannot be reconciled, and he's putting them there so we'll remain uncomfortable, so that's extremely interesting, this is the kind of careful reading that wants to be done by a poem like this it's not that one sentence with syllogistic logic builds into the next and he's got a system of time at the end, it's a muddle, and it's true everything he says profoundly true, so each sentence leads to insight, but such a partial insight that's contradicted by the next and again we're not just talking about watch time we're talking about how is my mother who is dead more present to me now than people living around me and clearly awaits me in the future and that kind of thing, yeah I think that's very true, three different positions the first contained the second unredeemable


and the third possibility perpetual, they're all different you know in some way it really does pose a question an anguish an anguish question that's right, the first this is Liguori's reading again he anguished over this for years his thought is that at the beginning Eliot is challenging us with they're not neat little compartments there is this mysterious inner penetration of past into present, of present into future this is all a critique of an easy individualism history is bunk, says Ford, and Eliot says to that, bunk the past is more present to us than the present is in many ways so that there's this insight that is a wisdom insight, it stands but it doesn't lead us into peace and synthesis it leaves us anguished that there's this kind of


confounding intermixture of past with present with future Liguori suggests it kind of paralyzes, Prufrock can't act, he's a kind of Hamlet figure because he sees too much this is Eliot the sociopolitical dimension of Eliot, sometime it'd be interesting to get into that in fact he was for democracy, he was if anything closer attracted to communism than fascism but he was always very hesitant he couldn't see the easy attraction of a thesis or a movement and then rush in and sign the petition and he was always anguishing the plus and the minus, etc well that's Eliot here, and that's it could be argued the 1980s monk perhaps or married person, it's not so easy anymore, it was very easy in 1945 we had won and the American


way was the best, or it was very easy in Stalinist Russia the clear emergence of the dictatorship of the proletariat, etc it's very easy for Lord Tennyson in many ways, etc it isn't for us, yeah I cut someone off I just had the thought that I saw the three wars of Trinity that they were all different aspects, but they were all part of the same thing, too. Well I think that's true, but the same thing is in some ways it ends up really an anguishing thing, he's talking here about all time is unredeemable, he's talked about this inner penetration which it's hard to deny at a deeper level, but then if all time is eternally present, this could be an easy definition of eternity but he's meaning it in quite a different, this isn't God's eternal present, this is


the collapse of necessary distinction and articulation I don't know if you've ever had a moment where you were kind of obsessed by something of the immediate past or something of the immediate future and you couldn't get out of it into the present but it was all confounded and it was the breakdown of the necessary articulation, that's what happens in the second sentence now Eliot had a serious breakdown and this is the man who's been at the limit of chaos Ephraim says most poets have to get there because that's where the 20th century is, but what he's talking about is the possibility of absolute hell here he's playing with that thesis in the sixth line and then he opens up a whole different can of worms, so to speak, that might have been what might have been


is an abstraction remaining a perpetual possibility only in a world of speculation. What does that only modify? Does it modify a perpetual possibility or does it modify only in a world of speculation? Or is it just sloppily ambiguous? It's infinitely saying it's a possibility only Is that all he's saying? He and many poets argue the very stuff of poetry is ambiguity, is the pointing beyond, and he often does this he'll put a word and it can go in quite different ways, or both There's a long


thing about reading poetry in terms of its lines and what's in that line belongs in that line there's a grammatical connection and there's a line connection which is syntactical and the line connection would lead, at least to give a slightly more weight to connecting it with the world of speculation rather than the previous one Yeah, that's true but still there's always the gnawing doubt and there's the perplexity and there's almost the wanting to go back and re-read it he could have said in a world of speculation only, he could have put that only at the end Yeah, but again, where it is, it is at least logically possible, as it often is with Eliot, this isn't something that he didn't pick up, so to speak he positions words, and very frequently this happens, we'll see it more often, it can go either way with an intriguing slight


variation of the meaning Anyway, there is this new can of worms of what might have been I don't know how many of you know that Robert Frost poem about the way not taken he comes to a fork in the road and he takes one fork though he could have taken the other, and he says that has made all the difference and it's a powerful poem but I think this is much more powerful what Eliot is saying is yes, that happens but that way not taken remains with me and in some ways is more present than the other, and continues to dominate me Here's Liguri's comment quoting another splendid commentator on Eliot, Stephen Spender himself a very serious poet Around any given moment in a person's life hover many other lives that might as easily have led up to such a moment or else been the result of another rather like it


and Stephen Spender says, the road not taken is one of the most trodden in a lifetime So I think this is a rather, for me it's so existentially true I'm still, obsessed is a strong word but I'm still working with things that might have been proposals made to me to which I said no and I'm still playing with the possible yes, that yes is almost more real to me than that no that took me down a road that's shaped a certain life of mine but that other life is almost more real for the person, for the society for the whole community such territory may belong largely to the geography of a world of speculation Now, we'll get into that that's a whole subject now that's exactly the opposite exactly the opposite we'll see that


but that's an interesting issue we're going to be confronted by something rather dramatic soon that's of quite a different order than this speculation Then he goes on what might have been and what has been point to one end which is always present so before he seemed to be minimizing this what might have been it's just an abstraction it's only in a world of speculation so he's boxed it in he's taken care of it then it breaks through again there is his method what's called incremental repetition this is an extremely Semitic method if you look at the Psalms if you look at Jesus something is said and then it's said again and again maybe in different ways, maybe contradicting what was said before God is a God of wrath, he will wipe us out but God will not be angry forever God repents, etc. so he's opened this


challenge of what might have been he's tried to box it in and now it breaks in it also points to the present now remember this couplet because he's going to end with that in quite a different way we're going to take a journey into the garden it's going to entirely shift our way of seeing those three lines but look at the ambiguity of present which is always present well we've been talking about past, present, and future so this could be present what is the present? 1056, you know or it can mean kind of breaking into my world God is present to us all so words have different dimensions here is a case where he's preparing for something many, many minds off prophetically, so to speak


Herbert uses this we were talking about literary criticism this is one of his essays on George Herbert I think it's recognized by the majority or 57% or by all as an extremely important essay on Herbert but what the metaphysical poets noted was the biblical method that one line is preparing for a line 10 lines off the kind of tension towards the future so we've got that happening so we've got that then we've got these footfalls, echo in the memory, down the passage which we did not take what's he doing here? He's going suddenly into very concrete language he's been talking abstractly as Victor noted suddenly he says I can use images too so we've got


footfalls, we've got echoes we've got the memory memory is extremely important for Eliot I can't grasp and analyze the moment of ecstasy but somehow it is available apophatically in memory the human family is in a world of chaos, but there is the memory there, the anamnesis it's extremely important that are there to guide us, to strengthen us also to haunt us Eliot is much haunted by his past individually and collectively Pound commented of William Carlos Williams that he came from a family that had not burned witches in New England that is a family that didn't have the heaviness of the past and Eliot commented with some Rhinus, my family didn't burn witches either, they hung them so Eliot


is a man of memory, but it's not a sentimental, romantic if you like, memory, it's not harking back to the beautiful Middle Ages the memory terrorizes us of the past, there's all kinds of death there and tragedy but we've got to work with it it's echoes but again, down the passage which we did not take toward the door we never opened and that leads into the Rose Garden now concretely in his life his house in the backyard there was this big wall and behind that was this rose garden of this very immaculate it was a place of mystery to him, of enticement he just barely dared to peek through the door every now and then he claims one of these deep images and it becomes this kind of objective correlation for him


but this is the door not taken for him so it's closed, it's not a reality but in this other way, it's more a reality than the doors he did open just to kind of question, comment on pay attention to the pronoun personal, direct personal words of your selling to me, that my and your comment on that would you? has he just forgotten what tense he was using? did he just freak out? that's very important who is talking to whom etc the I is very often important in Eliot in Prufrock much personal anguish isolation but there are key we's let us go then, you and I


when the sun is stretched out against the sky so this wants to be he's much of the journey is into the collective we into the personal I he's saying it's never just the one he's not just reflecting about his rose garden he's presuming to say there's a we here, but the anguish, now we'll see the my and the yours here but it is we here, he's not just talking about an abstract anyone and he's not just talking about I but it's the door we never opened but now we go into my words echo thus in your mind but to what purpose, disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose leaves, I do not know now he certainly identified with all of us


in our struggle and anguish but then as a poet he makes it seem very personal when you say what use would it be to what I say here, my words echo thus in your mind but to what purpose so I think it's very personal with the reader there but he's identified with the reader before in terms of the universal struggle and it's a paradoxical personal with he's not saying you're going to easily understand this this is obvious he's saying this is extremely central for me and I'm anguishing it over I think it is for us but this may not communicate at all to you Eliot in fact doesn't communicate at all to lots of people, lots of people he just infuriates he's a point of reaction against Verlatz so he knows this actually I think the rose garden is common the rose garden


is somehow the feeling the sense of the rose garden is awakened by my words which I never opened yeah but again there isn't an easy triumphalism there that I'm speaking for all of humanity we may not even be able to communicate I have no idea what this will mean, here is a man who's whole profession if you like is articulating to communicate and this is the anguished Eliot I don't know what's going to happen here he wrote plays, some of them were great successes some of them were just this kind of thing, he just never knew so Henderson the analyst you know liked Eliot very much


he mentions that this whole beginning of the first quartet, the fourth quartet he just kind of takes off from Ash Wednesday in terms of teach us to care not to dare, teach us to stay still because there is this pondering then and then he says then comes the memory of the first part of life with his longing to recapture the innocence of childhood the spontaneity of first love and that rosary image, but it all has seemingly to do with the problem of living in the present and living in the moderate present to pursue the meaning of that indeed and now we're going to have a remarkable shift Eliot for him a poem should be a surprise as life should be, that's his whole emphasis of his first critical


method, don't domesticate the poem, I know all about it because I've situated it in terms of my ideology it's simply a bourgeois poem or it's simply a Marxist poem or I've pinned it to the wall, I know that that person was neurotic had a breakdown, I don't have to deal with that then, I'm not going to be illumined by sick people or some way oh this is just a quote from Dante he's playing with that, some way to get control of it for him the poem should never be got control of, just as life or the other person can't I may have all kinds of information about you up till now but there can be the sudden kind of Damascus experience there can be the sudden surprise cocktail party she leaves him she comes back he doesn't even know her he's been living with her for years, he doesn't even know her Eliot is open to this possibility


because again in his personal life there are these epiphanies, these theophanies these breakthroughs so normally it's kind of heavy stumbling through the mud and struggling and pondering, all we've got here so he could write a whole poem oh I guess but suddenly things happen other echoes inhabit the garden shall we follow quick said the bird, find them, find them round the corner through the first gate, into our first world, shall we follow the deception of the thrush into our first world there they were the pace he's very careful here suddenly things pick up there's a surprise, there's other echoes shall we follow often there's a journey


in Eliot, let us go then you and I it's a rather ponderous journey in Prufrock, this is almost a kind of falling through the trap of trapdoor into some other dimension quick said the bird, find them find them round the corner through the first gate listen to him when he reads it, it's quite subtle, but suddenly there's surprise there's a heist Liguri has some interesting one wants to note just meter how many syllables in a word he'll suddenly shift into monosyllables he'll suddenly pick up he'll suddenly slow down he'll have a nice iambic but with a word missing that should be there that puts in a double emphasis on the word that this kind of thing he's an extremely careful craftsman he can write the classical sonnet he thrust a free verse onto the western world, he can do either


Eliot's lines leave the reader breathless we find ourselves in our first world before we can pause to be troubled by the ominous note of deception on which the invitation that compelled us to turn the corner ends the afterthought shall we follow is almost entirely rhetorical, we're almost being dragged along by Eliot here as he's being pulled in the urgency of the lines undermines the distance from which such a question might seriously be raised, Eliot always likes careful distance pondering the yeses, he's just pulled into this, he can just barely get his question out the syntax according to Kenner here beckons just a little ahead of our attention never delivering over everything to some resonant line on which we can come to rest through the first gate without any pause to reconsider, the rhythm of the


lines has brought us face to face with these mysterious them so here's the element of surprise still in this first movement and we're into something else, these others I have my own memories the people I met, the people that dominate my life, obsess my life have freed up my life, but there's these others there also and suddenly they're there and they're in the garden is this all deception, is this all illusion, this was a question that's mentioned very often in Eliot's plays and poetry, even the first poetry when he's presumably in simply an agnostic atheist space, Liguri denies this, he claims that the very earliest, most anguished Eliot, there are glimmers of faith there that he himself is aware of Dante is his guide then, also in terms of faith he's going into hell and then purgatory, but he's


glimpsed, but in any case there's often in this heaviness and contradiction, anguish the whole thing, there's breakthrough for a second that just that even makes ridiculous the anguish in all its urgency and tragedy and seriousness there they were curious shift of tense here, dignified invisible, moving without pressure over the dead leaves in the autumn heat, through the vibrant air and the bird called in response to the unheard music hidden in the shrubbery, and the unseen eyebeam crossed for the roses had the look of flowers that are looked at there they were as our guests accepted and accepting very mysterious stuff


now this is different from the anguished torturous of not being able to accept anything where are we here? what is happening? well, are we as we were in the first line? in the first lines there we were exploring what might have been and are we still doing that? this brings me to a genuine experience a new recollection of some mysterious presence a real moment of illumination a moment to remember the last impression perhaps a memory of something that actually happened to him a reminiscence or call it a daydream a fantasy he's thinking of something else


a possibility a dream of sorts I think we are in a different order from the I'm playing with categories past, present and future might have been to try to get some handle on it those are two different styles two different voices the first voice is a philosophical reflection the second voice is a concrete one precisely and he can do both again, he almost finished his doctorate in speculative philosophy pardon me? that's a good question ah you almost get the sense that he's closing in on something like the camera's coming down and he's transitioning completely into a scene in other words, it's a kind of transcendent experience a kind of presence maybe I missed something what in God's name would


character there be because there's a character that we haven't heard anyway that's a character we haven't heard but that's a character we haven't heard let's go on because it's not fair to stop here he's co-creating a parallel thing with the other people dancing the other people dancing it's a similar dimension a similar way to recall it it's very parallel in the same spot I think that first there is this door they never opened but also this echo he follows the voice of the verse which he recognizes by some experiences not speculative but that happened that were happening he says more than once into our first world


I think that's very intriguing it's almost as if you're going back to the original innocence our first world well, what is that? interesting I shouldn't exclude the fact that I was reading quite a bit of sleep last night he was reading naturally which he said as a child it's certainly what happens in images it's very primal and I think children do this it's not a matter of looking back it doesn't have to be that it's already a kind of experience he said repeatedly as it came right in the first it doesn't include the witness it's an evocation which can occur to anybody at any age and it isn't really a precise list which I'm sure I can say it isn't very complete I think the first copy which goes to the beginning of each chapter I can't fucking remember where are they going for


we want to get into that now I just wanted to mention Rosa mentioned two possible things into our first world this isn't mine but it could be going back to the very childhood the earliest memories or it has a suggestion and again is it either or kind of the primordial garden as it were remember the garden is very a central image in scripture it's a metaphysical first so there's a child I think it's all of these that he likes the ambiguity of the different possibilities I think for me at least it seems to say let's go back before we make difficult decisions and make the easy ones I'm not sure I don't think he thinks he's in control here this bird is suddenly leaving him so I don't know I think that the trust


that he's following is the impulse the kind of complex of image and healing which he follows you know that's not precisely the reminiscence the whole thing is clothed in partial reminiscences the drink pool, the children, the shrubbery the oysters, the bird the sense of quickness, all of that it all comes together in a new image but those are pieces somehow of the poem I think and the thresh can be the healing kind of touching there and he follows with the perception of the church perception because it is an imaginary world it was like it and what has been and he becomes all the way true all the time and that's always present why don't we just go on


and get the rest of this kind of theophany maybe this would be the way some deal with this there they were as our guests accepted and accepting so we moved and they in a formal pattern along the empty alley into the box circle to look down into the drained pool, dry the pool, dry concrete brown edged and the pool was filled with water out of sunlight and the lotus rose quietly, quietly the surface glittered out of heart of light and they were behind us reflected in the pool then a cloud passed and the pool was empty go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children, hidden excitedly containing laughter go, go, go said the bird, humankind


cannot bear very much reality time passed and time future what might have been and what has been point to one end which is always present so it's certainly a mysterious we're in again an entirely different world than almost the philosophical speculation about past, present, future might have been let me read just an early parallel to this, Noguri quotes all the parallels in Eliot of these breakthrough experiences these theophanies but to go right back to The Wasteland 22, this revolution of a poem April is the cruelest month um his lover is talking with him and she's reminiscing about the past


and then he suddenly comes in with his recollection you gave me hyacinths first a year ago they called me the hyacinth girl and he says that when we came back late from the hyacinth garden your arms full and your hair wet I could not speak and my eyes failed I was neither living nor dead and I knew nothing looking into the heart of light the silence this is The Wasteland this is Noguri's thesis that we've got a mystic Eliot from the very beginning who's blown away every now and then by these moments of light stillness that take him entirely to her dimension then he has to do something with this he falls back Gregory the Great


mentions these moments of vision of God and then there's the heavy falling back but in any case something's happened here that's not quite of the order there's some interesting analyses that can be done of how he constructs this mystery so we're here over dead leaves but we're moving without pressure I'm sorry they were that's difficult to do if you've read Dante often in Paradiso there are these figures that just glide through dead leaves but the air is vibrant well indeed and the bird called is this again impulse, inspiration there's images in the New Testament related to birds the spirit any, all, none the bird called in response to the unheard music


what kind of music is that if it's not heard hidden in the shrubbery, how do you hide music, that is he's certainly constructing a word of very concrete but absolutely paradox, mystery we can't get a hold of what's happening the unseen eye beam crossed of eyes glances are very important to Eliot the roses here we have this key image for him of rose again and here we have this musical, roses will come up again and again the roses have the look of flowers that are looked at, I think that's marvelously mysterious there they were and then there are guests and then we have this formal pattern, a kind of a dance so the pool is dry he's very insistent on that, he's clear on that he's not just freaking out on drugs but suddenly it's full with light and the lotus rose


quietly, quietly is this the rose of past tense or is it the flower the lotus is a symbol of it's coming this is extremely important for the eastern religions and he is in contact, but what about this rose here the lotus rose, again is this a verb form or substantive pardon me well it certainly can be, I think it pushes primarily is the other excluded that's a verb, which is able to vary the meaning, to unite the lotus with the rose because we've had roses and rose much before he's preparing, here again is the ambiguity this was the context to the memory and it's so crammed in every sort of short version of this was he yet


acquainted with Buddhism oh very much, he almost became a Buddhist and that explains many things indeed, some argue he was always a Buddhist he's flush with the present moment accomplished by the old class and that is certainly that he is protecting the future but this just as an example rose seems most likely a verb, but still you pause a lotus rose and again, all the way through he's never used rose up to now as a verb, but always as a substantive rose at the end of little getting will be the final symbol, but also lotus rose is fairly mystical quietly quietly the surface glittered out of heart of light one of the key influences on him was Conrad, Heart of Darkness


but he wanted to begin out of the wasteland with a quote from Heart of Darkness the horror, the horror these are the last words of someone on his deathbed who's kind of seeing an ultimate insight into life and the whole thing the horror, the horror and this is where Eliot sums up our insight into the 20th century, into the human condition but here he's into the heart of light so he can't close himself in the gloom of despair yes indeed, I think the whole thing and they're behind us, reflected in the pool it's not a face-to-face confrontation with these mysterious they as Victor says, who on earth are they? are they just your junior high school class? go said the bird, this was the bird that invited us into the garden that enabled this theophany


it's now saying get the heck out of here flee well maybe for the leaves were full of children get out I don't interpret it that way I interpret it more like children say go, go, go but he goes on maybe, but he says humankind cannot bear that very much reality, and then he's back into his heavy speculation but it does have a new dimension now this is the one time when Eliot gets rather excited in his reading listen to it go, go, go augments it as in music, you have the augmentation of volume that is, this can destroy you, he'll have a line very soon after, human flesh can stand neither heaven nor hell, thank god


we're in this narrow confine of past, present, and future it protects us from the heaven that would just blast us away and from the hell that would destroy us he'll say later on this thank god for time this is towards the end of the second movement the enchantment of past and future woven in the weakness of the changing body protects mankind from heaven and damnation which flesh cannot endure so Teresa speculates on this, she says the ecstasy of the six mansions this is to protect us from immediate vision because that would destroy us, this is the Old Testament fear of the face of god you cannot see god and live Eliot has a real sense


of the holy here he's not just saying let's skip along with god as some post-Vatican 2 cheerfulness might suggest, it's scary to have these moments of insight hmm yes when he talks about the pool of children hidden excitedly containing laughter, I mean I think for him what us human beings cannot stand too much is insight, insight rather than movement, what we see around is fiction precisely precisely it is children who constitute the kingdom of god oh by the way remember before there were find them, find them as if you were looking for hidden children and here you have these children they find children they're embracing their laughter so you won't discover it so they sort of embrace it you're talking about the very end or? yeah


ok ... [...] it seems like the brush was a good guide indeed, and that again is the ... [...] He's putting that into us. Where the hell are we? Is this self-delusion? Is this fantasy? We live with many illusions. Pardon me? We live with many illusions. So he puts that there hardly for time to wrestle with it, hardly with an I'm not going kind of thing. We rush into it, and it's light, and it's insight. But there's at least the old man saying, hey, be careful.


There's the old Eliot saying, slow down. This is simply self-delusion. So that's another sign. He's an extremely complicated person. He's not into easy religious experiences. I have been saved by Jesus. I've been born again. Maybe it wasn't all. Go to the very end of the poem. This isn't fair, but time past is present in time future. Are we on the top of page 195? Now, remember the children in all that. Let's go down to desire itself is movement, not in itself desirable. Love is itself unmoving, only the cause and end of movement, timeless and undesiring, except in the aspect of time, caught in the form of limitation


between unbeing and being. Speculation again, theory. Suddenly in the shaft of sunlight, even while the dust moves, there rises the hidden laughter of children in the foliage. Quick now, here now, always. Always. Ridiculous, the waste, sad time, stretching before and after. So I just got here, because Bruno mentioned that other parallel. This is the music kind of quality of Eliot. The same line, maybe slightly modified, will come up in quite a different way later on. But here, this is this. And notice these monosyllables. Quick now, here now, always. Always. We're suddenly in the kairos. You've got to rush into it to be in the eternal. Marvelous. And again, you've got to rush with the rush. Otherwise, you're ponderously there.


You've got all the time in the world to shuffle around past and present and might have been. So there's all this in Eliot. If it were only the one or the other, he'd be most challenging. But I think he's particularly challenging because there's all of this in him. He's an extremely multi-dimensioned spirit and flesh person. And that passage, it seems like he's saying the only time that counts is this present moment of joy. Because the waste, sad time, stretching before and after. But, yeah, he would say later, we can only experience this in time. And we can only really deal with it in the limits of past, present, and future. In those, Kairos moments itself were almost destroyed. So he'd say both and. So he's not someone who is simply saying all the rest of it is pure illusion and bunk and we just live for these brief. The rest of it also has its tremendous significance, has to be dealt with,


with tremendous discipline and asceticism precisely to maintain the memory and to open to the surprise. At any moment, this might happen. This is the drama of the poem of Eliot or of the person or of history or anything. Again, you can't domesticate it. It's always. I sense the pressure of the little child within him, hidden, excited. Hmm, nope. He's this ponderous adult, skeptical, and suddenly there's these children laughing. Is it an ironic laugh? Is it a sarcastic laugh? Is it the laugh of heaven? I'm very struck by the third from the last line. It says, quick now, this is here. That's a spatial orientation. So it's here. And then he says, now,


which draws us into the moment. But I think the key word, always, because always implies a continuity. I mean, it's sort of tied to the now, but it also implies a continuity with the past, with the yet to be. Here's Liguri's comment on this. He is a poet. Again, I love his comments because I think they're not just, he's got an anguish about the function of the critic. He's afraid that the critic will end up just playing the academic or just putting pins in the butterfly and thus killing it. He says the only function of the critic is to minister to the inner life of the poem. And so it's a kind of a midwife, extremely reverential, extremely cautious, and fearful. He's got the spirit of Eliot, of kind of reverence before the,


this shaft of sunlight catches up the earlier images of the garden. As once again, the rhythm of the lines quickens to keep pace with a sense of disclosure. The first movement of the poem had tried to approach the one end, which is always present, and failed for more than a moment to do so. The final movement in its meditation on the meaning of words and music has found there that all is always now. The coda to the poem discards not only the minimal structure of the subject and predicate, but even the successive phrases of the formula at the still point of the turning world. We still haven't gotten to that one, but he notes that's not a full sentence with subject. It's just there. But this is even more partial. In order to convey in a volley of vivid adverbs the immediacy of its discovery, quick now, here now, always. What kind of, if you wrote that sentence


for high school English, it would be flunked, you know. It doesn't make sense in terms of grammatical logic. But we're in the realm of just pointing, astonished. Yet what this shaft of sunlight suddenly brings to light is now and always a dance, the way up, whenever it is apprehended, involving the way down as well. And we end with the heavy lines, because he's fallen back, and then it's the Elliot of flesh and blood, and he's aware of the anguish of the human condition, kind of in the contrast to that, the often ridiculous, the waste, sad time, stretching before and after. Ridiculous by comparison? Absolutely. Remember Gregory the Great talks about Benedict who sees the whole universe in a shaft of light, and after that, everything, the whole universe seems very, very small.


It's not just pathetic, but of this great significance of what time it is in our projects, et cetera. It doesn't measure up to that instant in the garden. Two critical comments. One is, I think it reveals a little bit of Elliot's underlying pessimism, because I think some people say that, precisely, if you were a human, even by the whole of his work, you would see of this small particular present moment value with, in two different ways of looking at it, it isn't just a small, when that's infinite, we're at present, right? I don't know, that doesn't mean it's infinite. Well, I think that's very important. Why don't we stop with that, and he'll say also that elsewhere. But he thinks he has to say also this.


No, he'll treasure every particularity of history for that reason, but only for that reason. Without the moment in the rose garden, it's just, and even after falling out of it, it's some kind of Ecclesiastes moment that has to be there in Scripture, vanity of vanities. You also have to say that. That's not the ultimate good news, but I think it does want to be there for an honest. Mm-hmm. My other more literary thing, there's obviously, well, this is a kind of a climactic moment here, and earlier, there's a point of Gopal Goswami where he was trying to have very much reality. I've been led to these two points, but this curious combination, you know, which is part of this technique and part of doing interesting, of almost prosaic, expository statements.


I mean, human facts cannot bear very much reality. We just write that out for the period of, yeah, it's simply a statement. There's a lot of these things. And then there is the metaphorical and the symbolic. I would say that for me, in any case, when I arrive at these climactic moments, I don't feel I've been compelled to get there by the metaphor, by the symbols like that. Some, like the burden of the way really seems to be on his thoughtful statements all the way beforehand. Desire itself as a movement, not as a self-desirable. Only the cause and end of movement. All of, he could write all those down without putting, he could write it out in paragraph form. You know, it's that, what I'm getting at, my problem in this section of the, his metaphorical and symbolic structures don't control me.


They're allowing it, as climactic moments, they haven't worked in such a way. I think this might be my problem. You've got to open your heart more. I think many have this problem with him. Others feel the other dimension is too emphatic. Many, I remember my professor of English in college, he was an agnostic, and he was very impressed by L.A., but he couldn't abide this moment of theophany. He liked the rest of it, but what about, this isn't accessible to the rest of us, these Damascus experiences. It, for him, was an illegitimate, so he, anyway, you can go all kinds of ways. I find it fascinating that these various dimensions are in the one man, whether he's able to hold them in balance or in positive dialectic, but that can be debated, but it's fascinating that it's all there. It's not just the one or the other.


He's very much a head person. He can write brilliant, lucid prose, analysis, et cetera. He's also very much a man of a concrete image and of a blow-you-away moment that astonishes some. I just, we don't have that much more time. I'd like us to be able to hear Eliot. Unfortunately, there's key moments within so that you can kind of get something of them. I assume you've all read the poems nine times, so it's all right, but the garlic and sapphires in the mud, that whole, there he goes into a very structured, disciplined tetrameter. What's that all about? But be aware of that, and then, again, this powerful image, but sounds almost like Buddhist or mystical still point of the turning world. Movement three, think of the image of descending


into a gloomy, dark subway, and there's motion there, and there's before and after, there's darkness, but it's all the meaninglessness of modern society running from one silly destination to another, and then he says, descend lower, descend only. This is the prophetic Eliot at the beginning of the third movement who can just blast up the modern world for its meaninglessness, its emptiness of values, then descend lower, descend only into the world of perpetual solitude. This is a kind of a, if you like, inner spiritual ascetical descent. The meaninglessness of modern society, he's saying, is not the same thing as the dark night. John of the Cross is a major influence on this poem. Ephraim wrote a paper on this for his class, John of the Cross in DSOA, but then we go into an image of death, movement four. The sunflower that follows the sun.


Suddenly there's no sun. Will the sunflower bend down to us, stray down? We're in a grave here, chill, subtle, working with rhythm there, but then there's a little glimpse of resurrection.