japonisme: the fire & the rose

29 March 2011

the fire & the rose

what are we then to do?
knowing that the world has seen holocaust,
war, genocide, and, yet, come this far...
were you there, now, what would you do? swim?,
or stand tremulously, waiting, at the water's edge?


Ash on an old man's sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended.
Dust inbreathed was a house-
The walls, the wainscot and the mouse,
The death of hope and despair,
This is the death of air.

There are flood and drouth
Over the eyes and in the mouth,
Dead water and dead sand
Contending for the upper hand.
The parched eviscerate soil
Gapes at the vanity of toil,
Laughs without mirth.
This is the death of earth.

Water and fire succeed
The town, the pasture and the weed.
Water and fire deride
The sacrifice that we denied.
Water and fire shall rot
The marred foundations we forgot,
Of sanctuary and choir.
This is the death of water and fire.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known,
because not looked for
But heard, half-heard,
in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames
are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

T. S. Eliot
from Four Quartets

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Blogger k.r.h.voigt said...

touching, haunting and - alas - true!

29 March, 2011 11:56  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i know, rather i suppose, that one begins to recover from catastrophy as everything else, one day at a time. how many people will be left, "healthy," all limbs intact, yet unable to get out of bed?

29 March, 2011 12:27  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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