Monday, January 9, 2017

Only through time time is conquered

I have to admit that I often begin a post not knowing how or when it will end .... maybe, even if it will have an end. (A publishing agent and I once had a "debate" over whether or not every fictional story needed a 'beginning, middle and end' .... I guess she won the debate .... in a sense .... anyway ....). This is one of a few posts "left over" from last year. The photograph, as frequently is the case, is an incidental .... but, appropriate. (I think of it, laughingly, as "Still Life of Dust.") The music, as occasionally is the case, sort of dropped out of nowhere. If you are not familiar with T Bone Burnett, think of him as I do, one of Bobby Dylan's backup guitarists from long, long ago. This is one of two or three sort of related posts (at least in the sense they largely were written in 2016) which may or may not appear here. Do me a favor .... read a bit of T.S. Eliot and see if he enraptures you or sends you running for the nearest exit ....

Ain't life strange .... statement, not question

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.


So began T.S. Eliot in his poem, "Burnt Norton," the first of four in what became known as "The Four Quartets." The first was published in 1936, and the fourth in 1942. My favorite segment, if it even is appropriate to label one of the four as such, is "East Coker," which appeared in 1940.

I would love to discuss any and all of these poems with you, but not in this format or context or medium or this place or this time .... hmmmm .... time is the central issue here, is it not ?? Well, if you read the quartet, you might agree and might wish to discuss it at the appropriate time and in the appropriate place.

Back on point: In my beginning is my end. This, in effect, is what Elliot was thinking about in "East Coker," the second published of the four elements. Here is some of it:

You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

 As a romantic by inclination and an English major by choice (history major, also, please remember .... sort of a dual sin, some have told me, while recommending that I return to college and study something useful), I tend to enjoy and to pronounce my enjoyment of poets such as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Lord Tennyson .... and, well you get my drift.

But, while I adore their talent, way, far, deep within me I consider their work to be child's play, sometimes silly, without scratching the surface of what it truly is to gaze through and beyond the eyes to within the mind maze of humankind. No genius in them, you see. Simply pretty words and the ability to count meter. No melody, only emotional lyrics.

So, where does that leave me in terms of actual, idolatrous worship of a poet. Why, with T.S. Eliot, of course. Who else would it be, could it be, should it be?

Read the four poems of Eliot's Quartet and absorb those words if you are able. Bury yourself in them until there is nothing else surrounding you. Digest them -- literally, if necessary, to bring them inside of you .... hopefully, the ingredients of your stomach might reach the tendrils of your brain if all else fails. Whatever .... some say Johann Sebastian Bach is god .... I would seat T.S. Eliot at the same table.

Which brings us here: Eliot also wrote, "Only through time time is conquered" and "In my beginning is my end ...."

I understand his reference regarding time, but I am sort of sliding to the opposite end of the pendulum regarding beginnings and endings. I am thinking, "in my end is my beginning," at least in the context of humankind's concept of beginning and end, and beliefs might prove more powerful than mathematics.

As someone wrote, long before Eliot, "beginning and end are dreams" .... so, always at risk of "repeating myself," I might convince myself to take an antithetical approach to the abstraction and think of it as my end as my beginning -- and, it all is a dream anyway, right ?? Well, maybe .... but, that thought leads down another road toward another unknown ....

Which brings us here: "Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams."

Recognize those words ?? It would be nice if you did ....



4 comments:

ANITA said...

Fram .Hi. Ihave lightly looked upon those poems by T.S. Eliot "Burnt Norton,"They seems in a quick look very nice (but long)

Its all about life and we have to read the text in that time they were written.I belive humans have changed in their thinking,but still the grassroot is there and we can find much confident in his books.
I adore that pix you show.Specially the cute windows we can see in mirror of the sun glasses.Also like those dollars on the table.The old clock and many many more little things.Its like a puzle.What do the author of the shoot want to show?Say?

I thought the music was some poems with music but wow its some groovy kind of rythm.Love it.Never even heard of Burnett.


Here in Norway its rainy stormy days.I sit in my living room looking at tele..where the trial of one of our narco policemen is sentened to prison for great crimes-We hink we are soo great here in Norway..with the oil and everything(That is used up now) Rich country.Everybody is so solid and trustful-I can only laugh..


For me its back to work again.Three nightshifs.

Wish you a nice day and hopefully you are with good health,

With all my love,your friend in Norway,

Anita

Fram Actual said...

What you wrote about T.S. Eliot is fascinating to me, Anita. I suppose I look at him more as an introspective investigator of himself and of the human race than as an observer of the world around him.

Anway, that belief is what attracts me to him .... that, and the fact (as I see it), he was almost entirely encircled by intellectual pursuits and lifestyles and individuals. He does not seem to be distracted by the turmoil of actually living common life (with a few exceptions) and exists within a protective bubble of sorts. There is a great disadvantage to that, of course, but I think it allowed him to focus more deeply into the human psyche than "typical" poets are able to do (or, perhaps, capable of doing). Anway ....

In reference to the photograph, Anita, I guess I was thinking about the words of Eliot when I took it:

And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

I had my camera and simply looked to my right and took a photograph, then looked to my left and took a photograph, and then thought about what is shown in them and who I am in terms of what they reveal. What is shown, actually, is the top of a bookshelf and the items upon it. It was to my right. I probably will use the one I took to my left in my next post. Anyway, the items shown are things I see every day and, in some instances, such as the sunglasses, are things I frequently use.

The music of T Bone Burnett is fun/interesting/thought-provoking in many ways. I enjoy listening to it at times, but my mood has to be right for it. Sometime, listen to his song, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." See if you agree with the words.

Yes, it has been cold here and now there will be snow for a few days. I consider noon on January 16 to be the mid-point of "FramWinter." Then, it will be downhill. Winter is bothering me more than usual this year, but, then, I think life was bothering me more than usual throughout 2016. I think I have been too long in the same place.

All is well and fine for me (beyond my boredom/melancholy), and I hope for you, too. Thank you, Anita. I am glad you found your way here again and paused to take a look at us: Me, Eliot and T Bone. I hope your nightshifts go by easily and quickly .... later ....

Smareis said...

Sou um pouco assim também Fram. Sempre que começo a escrever nunca sei onde vai dar minhas palavras. Acho que por isso que estou escrevendo um conto, todo dia nasce ideias, mesmo estando sem nenhuma animação pra escrita. Agora eu estou sorrindo de mim... Talvez publique em outros dos meus blogs que não recebe visitas. Gosto de escrever as vezes apenas pra mim.
Não há nada como um pouco de T-Bone Burnett -River of Lover.
Um bom guitarrista.
O vídeo é bom.
Quanto ao T. S. Eliot, eu conheço pouco o trabalho dele. Mais o poema “Quatro Quartetos” eu já conhecia é muito bom e faz a gente pensar.
Gostei da fotografia. Bem curiosa. Gosto muito de óculos de sol. esses parece bonito.

Um punhado de sorrisos.
Hoje tem uma lua linda no céu.

Fram Actual said...

Even stranger than when your mind leads you where it will and your words emerge spontaneously as if guided by your subconscious, Smareis, is when your fingers do it.

It is not quite the same, what I mean .... not entirely, anyway. But, when I was an active journalist, if I could not recall the spelling of a word or the "best" word or words to use in a specific situation, I would allow my fingers to rest upon the keyboard. In a matter of seconds, they would abruptly move and type and the spelling or the word I was searching for would appear as if magically summoned. The method never failed. The word would always be spelled correctly. I used to joke with workmates that my brains were in my finger tips. It seemed as if they actually were .... or, at least, that is where my memory banks resided. It always has been inexplicable to me.

T Bone and "River of Love" .... I just listened to it, and I understand why it would appeal to you. Sometimes there is magic to be found where you would not expect it to be and never think to look for it. I believe this is true of T Bone. His is music straight from the earth.

I think I have absolutely nothing in common with T.S. Eliot other than a single gene we both possess which examines the roots of reality and spirituality through the same line of vision: A point somewhere between Vishnu (Krishna, if you will) and Ernest Hemingway. (Some day, I might try to explain that ....) Anyway, I deeply admire Eliot's insight into the human psyche and his poetic talent.

The photograph is an afterthought, much the same as I would describe my life.

Yes, I was out in the moonlight for a while, too .... shoveling paths through the snow in my backyard for Buddy, my dog. I have more than a foot of snow on the ground now -- about seven more inches fell Monday and Tuesday. It is a full moon, near enough, at least, and the "Wolf Moon," according to Lake Superior and other Native American tribes.

Yes, a near-full moon, a frigid, snowy night .... it is truly beautiful and serene .... as are you, Smareis .... thank you, for coming here ....

Something special ....