See also www.http://www.annelinorrland.blogspot.com for more background on this author, old blogs

Friday, December 31, 2010

Await another voice

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice


___T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding, Four Quartets


Is it possible, that last year's language has left us,
that we are free / doomed / required to await another voice?


There is great danger in quoting poetry out of its complete context yet this happens to Eliot all the time. The passages from "Little Gidding," one of his Four Quartets are ripe for picking. So much to pull and ponder. His context was different than ours, so perhaps we do not fail our duty completely when we quote out of context, these smooth, prickly words. They sound lovely, they drip off the tongue. But what are we saying?

Last season's fruit is eaten
And the fulled beast shall kick the empty pail.
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.


And again, pages later,

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.


Images to tease us forward into a new time, a new year,
new voices, new seasons, new understanding: self-understanding.
New understanding of place and patriotism, in his case, of England.

We appropriate the words at will to fill our own contexts with rich imagining and new inspiration. So we do. So we will. And why not?

Peace as you begin and end and start and await another voice.



(If you can, read the entire work. It is demanding of us, a new voice.)

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