Friday, May 30, 2008
"...there is only the dance."
I promised something especially smutty in honor of my first anniversary at Blogger, but I'm afraid I'm feeling more philosophical than raunchy. I'm sure that'll pass, but meanwhile, here's a bit of a great poem about time, for those of us who brood on its mysteries. The full text is here. Happy pondering.
At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards;
at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.
From "Burnt Norton" by T. S. Eliot, 1935.
(Apologies, as always, for the formatting limitations of Blogger. The link above displays the poem in its proper shape.)
Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, Gebroeders van Limburg, c.1416. Image from A World History of Art.