Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
time, between pole and tropic.
Whem the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice,
on pond and ditches,
In windless cold that is the heart's heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is
blindness in the early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,
Stires the dumb spirit:
no wind, but pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul's sap quivers. There
is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor
Not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable
If you came
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the
same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only
when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark
lake, in a desert or a city-
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and in England.
If you came this
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
carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious
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.
an old man's sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story
Dust inbreathed was a house-
The walls, the wainscot and the mouse,
The death of hope and despair,
is the death of air.
There are flood and drouth
Over the eyes and in the mouth,
Dead water and dead sand
for the upper hand.
The parched eviscerate soil
Gapes at the vanity of toil,
Laughs without mirth.
the death of earth.
Water and fire succeed
The town, the pasture and the weed.
Water and fire deride
sacrifice that we denied.
Water and fire shall rot
The marred foundations we forgot,
Of sanctuary and choir.
is the death of water and fire.
In the uncertain hour before the morning
Near the ending of interminable night
At the recurrent end of the unending
After the dark dove with the flickering tongue
Had passed below the horizon
of his homing
While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin
Over the asphalt where no other sound was
three districts whence the smoke arose
I met one walking, loitering and hurried
As if blown towards me like the metal
Before the urban dawn wind unresisting.
And as I fixed upon the down-turned face
That pointed scrutiny
with which we challenge
The first-met stranger in the waning dusk
I caught the sudden look of some dead master
I had known, forgotten, half recalled
Both one and many; in the brown baked features
The eyes of a familiar compound
Both intimate and unidentifiable.
So I assumed a double part, and cried
And heard another's voice cry: "What!
are you here?"
Although we were not. I was still the same,
Knowing myself yet being someone other-
he a face still forming; yet the words sufficed
To compel the recognition they preceded.
And so, compliant to the
Too strange to each other for misunderstanding,
In concord at this intersection time
Of meeting nowhere,
no before and after,
We trod the pavement in a dead patrol.
I said: "The wonder that I feel is easy,
is cause of wonder. Therefore speak:
I may not comprehend, may not remember."
And he: "I am not eager to rehearse
My thoughts and theory which you have forgotten.
These things have served their purpose: let them be.
your own, and pray they be forgiven
By others, as I pray you to forgive
Both bad and good. Last season's fruit is
And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.
For last year's words belong to last year's language
next year's words await another voice.
But, as the passage now presents no hindrance
To the spirit unappeased and
Between two worlds become much like each other,
So I find words I never thought to speak
I never thought I should revisit
When I left my body on a distant shore.
Since our concern was speech, and speech
To purify the dialect of the tribe
And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight,
Let me disclose
the gifts reserved for age
To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort.
First, the cold fricton of expiring sense
enchantment, offering no promise
But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
As body and sould begin to fall asunder.
Second, the conscious impotence of rage
At human folly, and the laceration
Of laughter at what ceases to amuse.
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
Of things ill done and
done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
Then fools' approval stings, and honour stains.
wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
Where you must move in measure,
like a dancer."
The day was breaking. In the disfigured street
He left me, with a kind of valediction,
on the blowing of the horn.
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,
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
To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern.
is Behovely, but
All shall be well, and
All manner of thing shall be well.
If I think, again, of this place,
of people, not wholly commendable,
Of not immediate kin or kindness,
But of some peculiar genius,
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
Why should we celebrate
These dead men more than the dying?
It is not to ring the bell backward
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
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.
descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one dischage from
sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we
start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support
The word neither diffident nor ostentations,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word
exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block,
to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time,
for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the
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.
now, here, now, always-
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be
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.