Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TS Elliot- Ash Wednesday

This is the last part of the poem, it has five other sections before this~


Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit
of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.


  1. Kelly, how wonderful of you to post this! I had meant to post a section of it myself, but I am still feeling horrid with the flu. I'm just too weak to mount a blog. It's a very difficult poem, so difficult I don't claim to totally understand it. My favorite section is Part II. The poetry there is so rich. Eliot was not the type of Christian who emphasized God's glory. He was more the sinner who can't overcome his guilt. There's a lot of pain in Eliot's Christian poetry.

    For those that want to read the entire poem, you can read it here:

    By all means check out Part II.

  2. Thanks, Manny. I don't pretend to understand all of it, but I like it anyway.
    This part sticks with me-

    Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
    Teach us to care and not to care
    Teach us to sit still
    Even among these rocks,
    Our peace in His will

    I know what you're saying about not feeling well. I think it's only because I know I'm in for a long. slow recovery, that I can make myself do things. With the flu, though, you just have to stop. Hopefully, you are getting near the end of it.

    I will definitely read part II!

  3. I did read it. It is musical, it's cadence and refrains! And it paints a picture in my mind as I read. The ending, as the bones are glad and content to be scattered on the ground in the quiet, makes me remember the saying Fr. Corapi relates about obedience; "Dead men offer no resistance." Thanks for recommending that!

  4. Just stopping by now. I've been really sick. I'm glad you enjoyed it.