I'm sitting at home, sick as a dog, feeling sorry for myself and Dorothy who has to put up with my sniffling and sniveling. I tried to go into work yesterday so I wouldn't get too far behind but I felt like an aching zombie inconsiderately exposing the still living to bad juju. Besides that, my daughter Katie and her husband, Brian, have left on their travels abroad. They'll be gone at least six months and possibly a lot longer. I'm thrilled for them but letting go is tough. (Katie's keeping a blog, Leap and the Net Will Appear where you can keep track of their exploits.)
So in this sick, disassociated, depressed frame of mind I came upon some poetry which helped me move closer to the positive side of the scale.. I'm grateful I found it and feel compelled to share it with my faithful readers.
The following are excerpts are from East Coker, one of Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot. He captures much of what I've been trying to say in this blog over the past month or so. I find it exciting to find poetry that speaks so directly to me.
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate - but there is no competition -
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
the world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.
Thank you Mr. Eliot. The Wikipedia entry says that he considered the Four Quartets his greatest work and that it is what led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.