Monday, September 21, 2020

What's That Corpse Still Doing Here?

Word is Trump may wait until after the funeral of Justice Ginsburg to announce her replacement.

Then again, he may not.  Well, nobody else did, why should he?

If you came this way, 
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season, 
It would always be the same: you would have to put off 
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity 
Or carry report. You are here to kneel 
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more 
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying. 
And what the dead had no speech for, when living, 
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living. 
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always.

And what the dead had no speech for, when living, 
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living. 

I remember those words on the stone marking Eliot's memorial in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.  It didn't seem that day that the words of the dead poet were tongued with fire for anyone; except me.  I noticed those words from "Little Gidding" for the first time, set apart as they were.  The communication of the dead is tongued with fire; but we have to listen for it.

There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow: 
Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment 
From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference 
Which resembles the others as death resembles life, 
Being between two lives - unflowering, between
The live and the dead nettle. This is the use of memory:
For liberation - not less of love but expanding
Of love beyond desire, and so liberation 
From the future as well as the past. Thus, love of a country
Begins as an attachment to our own field of action
And comes to find that action of little importance
Though never indifferent. History may be servitude, 
History may be freedom. See, now they vanish, 
The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them, 
To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern. 
Sin is Behovely, but 
All shall be well, and
All manner of thing shall be well.
If I think, again, of this place,
And of people, not wholly commendable,
Of not immediate kin or kindness,
But of some peculiar genius,
All touched by a common genius,
United in the strife which divided them; 
If I think of a king at nightfall,
Of three men, and more, on the scaffold
And a few who died forgotten 
In other places, here and abroad, 
And of one who died blind and quiet, 
Why should we celebrate 
These dead men more than the dying?
It is not to ring the bell backward
Nor is it an incantation
To summon the spectre of a Rose.
We cannot revive old factions 
We cannot restore old policies
Or follow an antique drum.
These men, and those who opposed them
And those whom they opposed 
Accept the constitution of silence
And are folded in a single party. 
Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us - a symbol: 
A symbol perfected in death. 
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching.


  1. OT,but blogspot isn't opening well recently on Firefox or Vivaldi recently.Embedded links such as post title to content, are cranky. Content can be seen in real time but is difficult to read over your tasteful wallpaper. Just sayin'

  2. I’m having the same problem on Safari. Obviously “new Blogger” doesn’t like my old style. Thanks, I will update accordingly tomorrow.