Friday, 1 October 2010

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden


Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice


Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.


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.

Blessed 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.

T.S. Eliot: Ash Wednesday (fragments)


  1. ce frumos! m-am pierdut acum - just sitting still, for a while, just this...

  2. ;-) TS Eliot is a marvel.
    Nu il mai citisem din facultate, ii uitasem versurile, starile.
    I was also still, silent for a whole afternoon, reading and re-reading his perfect lines.

  3. Cris,
    I'm at a loss with this post. The image is so Po-Mo, full of juxtapositions, transparence-en-abymes, hooded cloaks or be-specter-ed tablecloths hanging looser than language - a glass-and-steel universe with leftovers of humans.
    While the poem is so holy-esque in its modernist imagery, so full of desired redemption and casual formality, if I may say so, in style...that I would hardly match them. Though...

  4. Cris, and speaking about raincoats, Tim Hanauer has a beautiful song 'Yellow Raincoat'. Sorry, I couldn't refrain...

  5. Anonymous,

    Now I smile a bit. This post confused at least two people.
    After I smile, for a while, I shall return and offer a proper reply.

  6. not to confuse, my smile is not condescending at all.

    I like the song, I've never heard it before though...

  7. Hi, Cris,
    I hope you don't bear a grudge against me.On second thought, perhaps the very essence of humanity is at stake in your post. The image tells of human disappearance, of empty spaces and loss (the reiterated flapping piece of cloth), while the poem speaks about spiritual revival and rejuvenation through faith. It brings spirit there where there was emptiness before. Perhaps the image only enhances by contrast the message of the poem as a sort of sophisticated litotes (!). Now I'm confusing myself...really.

  8. Hi, Anonymous,
    I apologize for not replying at the time of your comment. Probably I took too much time for my smile and now, reading again your lines, I am a bit scared that my explanation won’t rise to your delicate and subtle interpretation of my post.

    Your second interpretation is closer to my intention at the time of this post; it actually offers more than I can explain, although I shall try.

    This sombre image was for me the epitome of in-betweenness: the reflection of the ‘real’ world with ‘hooded cloaks or be-specter-ed tablecloths’ (as you playfully and superbly said) on the other ‘artificial’ world, the one of the painting or of the framed (sacred) image which is only slightly visible.

    The photo juxtaposes two images (in a Post-modernist style – why not?), in tension with each other, none of them clear, none of them whole, none of them plain, more of a ghostlike shapes and figures. They are equally important and equally distant, and equally fragile. While the photo plays with the erosion of sharp distinctions between the real and the not-so-real and ‘speaks’ of a fragmented world, in which the real and the artificial collide and their clash creates tension, the poem contrasts it and brings order where it lacked. Or, as you beautifully put it ‘It brings spirit there where there was emptiness before.’ Indeed, the emphasis was more on Eliot’s lines than on my photo. It was, so to speak, my need of finding equilibrium in my own distorted worlds.

    I hope you will come again.

    P.S.: How could I bear a grudge against someone who so subtle deciphers my posts?

  9. acesta imi apare a fi o secventa decupta,delicat,din caruselul acela care imi ameteste imaginatia in noptile grele ale insomniilor mele;si intotdeauna se invarteste prea repede,si dimineata pare o poveste pe care nu o pot prinde;si iata cum,acum,este aici,unul dintre acele locuri in care imi gasesc,in sfarsit,somnul ravnit.iti multumesc pentru ca imortalizezi visele mele

  10. Cris,
    Thank you for your beautiful answer and your gracious post scriptum. I understand your point now and I'm happy I may have spotted some of your intentions. I think it's always fair to ask your way in a new 'text' as in a new town. I've never been ashamed of asking questions ... especially when I get such rewarding answers.
    And I love detours...they can be so full of surprises :-) Like this post which seemed so difficult in the beginning and then it suddenly fell into place.
    Thank you again.

  11. ...and then suddenly fell into place.

  12. oh, draga mea cerasela, cum ma cuceresc imaginile acestea ale tale, ca secventele de film, ce cuprind in ele esenta. doar daca si imaginile mele s-ar ridica la delicatetea alor tale, atunci ar fi un dans ca nicicare altul.

  13. Anonymous,
    The pleasure was all mine, I assure you. I love questions, detours, explanations, surprises and your presence here, on this blog. ;)


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Starea ta naturala (perfecţiunea) nu este nici entuziasmul, nici descurajarea. Starea ta naturală este liniştea. * Iubirea musei nu e pasională, e totală. Musa cunoaşte ceva asemănător adoraţiei, dar mai adânc, mai liniştit. Vă scriu din altă lume... * (Gellu Naum: Calea Şearpelui)

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