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Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Four Quartets 2: East Coker

 I

In my beginning is my end.
In succession Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended, Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires, Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth Which is already flesh, fur and faeces, Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building And a time for living and for generation And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
In my beginning is my end.
Now the light falls Across the open field, leaving the deep lane Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon, Where you lean against a bank while a van passes, And the deep lane insists on the direction Into the village, in the electric heat Hypnotised.
In a warm haze the sultry light Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.
In that open field If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close, On a summer midnight, you can hear the music Of the weak pipe and the little drum And see them dancing around the bonfire The association of man and woman In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie— A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction, Holding eche other by the hand or the arm Whiche betokeneth concorde.
Round and round the fire Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles, Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes, Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth Mirth of those long since under earth Nourishing the corn.
Keeping time, Keeping the rhythm in their dancing As in their living in the living seasons The time of the seasons and the constellations The time of milking and the time of harvest The time of the coupling of man and woman And that of beasts.
Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking.
Dung and death.
Dawn points, and another day Prepares for heat and silence.
Out at sea the dawn wind Wrinkles and slides.
I am here Or there, or elsewhere.
In my beginning.
II What is the late November doing With the disturbance of the spring And creatures of the summer heat, And snowdrops writhing under feet And hollyhocks that aim too high Red into grey and tumble down Late roses filled with early snow? Thunder rolled by the rolling stars Simulates triumphal cars Deployed in constellated wars Scorpion fights against the Sun Until the Sun and Moon go down Comets weep and Leonids fly Hunt the heavens and the plains Whirled in a vortex that shall bring The world to that destructive fire Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.
That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory: A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion, Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle With words and meanings.
The poetry does not matter.
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to, Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders, Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit? The serenity only a deliberate hebetude, The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets Useless in the darkness into which they peered Or from which they turned their eyes.
There is, it seems to us, At best, only a limited value In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies, For the pattern is new in every moment And every moment is a new and shocking Valuation of all we have been.
We are only undeceived Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble, On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold, And menaced by monsters, fancy lights, Risking enchantment.
Do not let me hear Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly, Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession, Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
The houses are all gone under the sea.
The dancers are all gone under the hill.
III O dark dark dark.
They all go into the dark, The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant, The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters, The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers, Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees, Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark, And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors, And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral, Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God.
As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama And the bold imposing façade are all being rolled away— Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about; Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing— I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry, The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony Of death and birth.
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.
IV The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part; Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of the healer's art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.
Our only health is the disease If we obey the dying nurse Whose constant care is not to please But to remind of our, and Adam's curse, And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.
The whole earth is our hospital Endowed by the ruined millionaire, Wherein, if we do well, we shall Die of the absolute paternal care That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
The chill ascends from feet to knees, The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze And quake in frigid purgatorial fires Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.
The dripping blood our only drink, The bloody flesh our only food: In spite of which we like to think That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood— Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.
V So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years— Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres Trying to use words, and every attempt Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure Because one has only learnt to get the better of words For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which One is no longer disposed to say it.
And so each venture Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate With shabby equipment always deteriorating In the general mess of imprecision of feeling, Undisciplined squads of emotion.
And what there is to conquer By strength and submission, has already been discovered Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope To emulate—but there is no competition— There is only the fight to recover what has been lost And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions That seem unpropitious.
But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying.
The rest is not our business.
Home is where one starts from.
As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living.
Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight, A time for the evening under lamplight (The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers Here or there does not matter We must be still and still moving Into another intensity For a further union, a deeper communion Through the dark cold and the empty desolation, The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters Of the petrel and the porpoise.
In my end is my beginning.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Portrait of a Lady

 Thou hast committed—
Fornication: but that was in another country,
And besides, the wench is dead.
The Jew of Malta.
I AMONG the smoke and fog of a December afternoon You have the scene arrange itself—as it will seem to do— With “I have saved this afternoon for you”; And four wax candles in the darkened room, Four rings of light upon the ceiling overhead, An atmosphere of Juliet’s tomb Prepared for all the things to be said, or left unsaid.
We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and fingertips.
“So intimate, this Chopin, that I think his soul Should be resurrected only among friends Some two or three, who will not touch the bloom That is rubbed and questioned in the concert room.
” —And so the conversation slips Among velleities and carefully caught regrets Through attenuated tones of violins Mingled with remote cornets And begins.
“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends, And how, how rare and strange it is, to find In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends, [For indeed I do not love it .
.
.
you knew? you are not blind! How keen you are!] To find a friend who has these qualities, Who has, and gives Those qualities upon which friendship lives.
How much it means that I say this to you— Without these friendships—life, what cauchemar!” Among the windings of the violins And the ariettes Of cracked cornets Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins Absurdly hammering a prelude of its own, Capricious monotone That is at least one definite “false note.
” —Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance, Admire the monuments, Discuss the late events, Correct our watches by the public clocks.
Then sit for half an hour and drink our bocks.
II Now that lilacs are in bloom She has a bowl of lilacs in her room And twists one in his fingers while she talks.
“Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know What life is, you who hold it in your hands”; (Slowly twisting the lilac stalks) “You let it flow from you, you let it flow, And youth is cruel, and has no remorse And smiles at situations which it cannot see.
” I smile, of course, And go on drinking tea.
“Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall My buried life, and Paris in the Spring, I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world To be wonderful and youthful, after all.
” The voice returns like the insistent out-of-tune Of a broken violin on an August afternoon: “I am always sure that you understand My feelings, always sure that you feel, Sure that across the gulf you reach your hand.
You are invulnerable, you have no Achilles’ heel.
You will go on, and when you have prevailed You can say: at this point many a one has failed.
But what have I, but what have I, my friend, To give you, what can you receive from me? Only the friendship and the sympathy Of one about to reach her journey’s end.
I shall sit here, serving tea to friends.
.
.
” I take my hat: how can I make a cowardly amends For what she has said to me? You will see me any morning in the park Reading the comics and the sporting page.
Particularly I remark An English countess goes upon the stage.
A Greek was murdered at a Polish dance, Another bank defaulter has confessed.
I keep my countenance, I remain self-possessed Except when a street piano, mechanical and tired Reiterates some worn-out common song With the smell of hyacinths across the garden Recalling things that other people have desired.
Are these ideas right or wrong? III The October night comes down; returning as before Except for a slight sensation of being ill at ease I mount the stairs and turn the handle of the door And feel as if I had mounted on my hands and knees.
“And so you are going abroad; and when do you return? But that’s a useless question.
You hardly know when you are coming back, You will find so much to learn.
” My smile falls heavily among the bric-à-brac.
“Perhaps you can write to me.
” My self-possession flares up for a second; This is as I had reckoned.
“I have been wondering frequently of late (But our beginnings never know our ends!) Why we have not developed into friends.
” I feel like one who smiles, and turning shall remark Suddenly, his expression in a glass.
My self-possession gutters; we are really in the dark.
“For everybody said so, all our friends, They all were sure our feelings would relate So closely! I myself can hardly understand.
We must leave it now to fate.
You will write, at any rate.
Perhaps it is not too late.
I shall sit here, serving tea to friends.
” And I must borrow every changing shape To find expression .
.
.
dance, dance Like a dancing bear, Cry like a parrot, chatter like an ape.
Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance— Well! and what if she should die some afternoon, Afternoon grey and smoky, evening yellow and rose; Should die and leave me sitting pen in hand With the smoke coming down above the housetops; Doubtful, for a while Not knowing what to feel or if I understand Or whether wise or foolish, tardy or too soon.
.
.
Would she not have the advantage, after all? This music is successful with a “dying fall” Now that we talk of dying— And should I have the right to smile?
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Gus: The Theatre Cat

 Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before, Is really Asparagus.
That's such a fuss To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat's very shabby, he's thin as a rake, And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats-- But no longer a terror to mice and to rats.
For he isn't the Cat that he was in his prime; Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club (Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub) He loves to regale them, if someone else pays, With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree-- He has acted with Irving, he's acted with Tree.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls, Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls.
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell, Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
"I have played," so he says, "every possible part, And I used to know seventy speeches by heart.
I'd extemporize back-chat, I knew how to gag, And I knew how to let the cat out of the bag.
I knew how to act with my back and my tail; With an hour of rehearsal, I never could fail.
I'd a voice that would soften the hardest of hearts, Whether I took the lead, or in character parts.
I have sat by the bedside of poor Little Nell; When the Curfew was rung, then I swung on the bell.
In the Pantomime season I never fell flat, And I once understudied Dick Whittington's Cat.
But my grandest creation, as history will tell, Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
" Then, if someone will give him a toothful of gin, He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat, When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
He once played a Tiger--could do it again-- Which an Indian Colonel purused down a drain.
And he thinks that he still can, much better than most, Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire, To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
And he says: "Now then kittens, they do not get trained As we did in the days when Victoria reigned.
They never get drilled in a regular troupe, And they think they are smart, just to jump through a hoop.
" And he'll say, as he scratches himself with his claws, "Well, the Theatre's certainly not what it was.
These modern productions are all very well, But there's nothing to equal, from what I hear tell, That moment of mystery When I made history As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
"
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Whispers of Immortality

 WEBSTER was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.
Daffodil bulbs instead of balls Stared from the sockets of the eyes! He knew that thought clings round dead limbs Tightening its lusts and luxuries.
Donne, I suppose, was such another Who found no substitute for sense, To seize and clutch and penetrate; Expert beyond experience, He knew the anguish of the marrow The ague of the skeleton; No contact possible to flesh Allayed the fever of the bone.
.
.
.
.
.
Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye Is underlined for emphasis; Uncorseted, her friendly bust Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.
The couched Brazilian jaguar Compels the scampering marmoset With subtle effluence of cat; Grishkin has a maisonette; The sleek Brazilian jaguar Does not in its arboreal gloom Distil so rank a feline smell As Grishkin in a drawing-room.
And even the Abstract Entities Circumambulate her charm; But our lot crawls between dry ribs To keep our metaphysics warm.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Journey Of The Magi

 'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
' And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped in away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no imformation, and so we continued And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt.
I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Ash Wednesday

 I

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is
nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
II Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained In the hollow round of my skull.
And God said Shall these bones live? shall these Bones live? And that which had been contained In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping: Because of the goodness of this Lady And because of her loveliness, and because She honours the Virgin in meditation, We shine with brightness.
And I who am here dissembled Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions Which the leopards reject.
The Lady is withdrawn In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them.
As I am forgotten And would be forgotten, so I would forget Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose.
And God said Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only The wind will listen.
And the bones sang chirping With the burden of the grasshopper, saying Lady of silences Calm and distressed Torn and most whole Rose of memory Rose of forgetfulness Exhausted and life-giving Worried reposeful The single Rose Is now the Garden Where all loves end Terminate torment Of love unsatisfied The greater torment Of love satisfied End of the endless Journey to no end Conclusion of all that Is inconclusible Speech without word and Word of no speech Grace to the Mother For the Garden Where all love ends.
Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other, Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand, Forgetting themselves and each other, united In the quiet of the desert.
This is the land which ye Shall divide by lot.
And neither division nor unity Matters.
This is the land.
We have our inheritance.
III At the first turning of the second stair I turned and saw below The same shape twisted on the banister Under the vapour in the fetid air Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears The deceitul face of hope and of despair.
At the second turning of the second stair I left them twisting, turning below; There were no more faces and the stair was dark, Damp, jaggèd, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond repair, Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.
At the first turning of the third stair Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown, Lilac and brown hair; Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair, Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair Climbing the third stair.
Lord, I am not worthy Lord, I am not worthy but speak the word only.
IV Who walked between the violet and the violet Whe walked between The various ranks of varied green Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour, Talking of trivial things In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour Who moved among the others as they walked, Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour, Sovegna vos Here are the years that walk between, bearing Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring With a new verse the ancient rhyme.
Redeem The time.
Redeem The unread vision in the higher dream While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.
The silent sister veiled in white and blue Between the yews, behind the garden god, Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down Redeem the time, redeem the dream The token of the word unheard, unspoken Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew And after this our exile V If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent If the unheard, unspoken Word is unspoken, unheard; Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard, The Word without a word, the Word within The world and for the world; And the light shone in darkness and Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled About the centre of the silent Word.
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence Not on the sea or on the islands, not On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land, For those who walk in darkness Both in the day time and in the night time The right time and the right place are not here No place of grace for those who avoid the face No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice Will the veiled sister pray for Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee, Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray For children at the gate Who will not go away and cannot pray: Pray for those who chose and oppose O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Will the veiled sister between the slender Yew trees pray for those who offend her And are terrified and cannot surrender And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks In the last desert before the last blue rocks The desert in the garden the garden in the desert Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.
O my people.
VI Although I do not hope to turn again Although I do not hope Although I do not hope to turn Wavering between the profit and the loss In this brief transit where the dreams cross The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying (Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things From the wide window towards the granite shore The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying Unbroken wings And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices And the weak spirit quickens to rebel For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell Quickens to recover The cry of quail and the whirling plover And the blind eye creates The empty forms between the ivory gates And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.
Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden, Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still Even among these rocks, Our peace in His will And even among these rocks Sister, mother And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea, Suffer me not to be separated And let my cry come unto Thee.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Macavity: The Mystery Cat

 Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw--
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair: For when they reach the scene of crime--Macavity's not there! Macavity, Macavity, there's no on like Macavity, He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare, And when you reach the scene of crime--Macavity's not there! You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air-- But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there! Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin; You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly doomed; His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake; And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.
Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity, For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square-- But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there! He's outwardly respectable.
(They say he cheats at cards.
) And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard's.
And when the larder's looted, or the jewel-case is rifled, Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke's been stifled, Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair-- Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there! And when the Foreign Office finds a Treaty's gone astray, Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way, There may be a scap of paper in the hall or on the stair-- But it's useless of investigate--Macavity's not there! And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say: "It must have been Macavity!"--but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs, Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.
Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macacity, There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibit, or one or two to spare: And whatever time the deed took place--MACAVITY WASN'T THERE! And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known (I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone) Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Four Quartets 1: Burnt Norton

 I

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.
What might have been is an abstraction Remaining a perpetual possibility Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden.
My words echo Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves I do not know.
Other echoes Inhabit the garden.
Shall we follow? Quick, said the bird, find them, find them, Round the corner.
Through the first gate, Into our first world, shall we follow The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible, Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves, In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air, And the bird called, in response to The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery, And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern, Along the empty alley, into the box circle, To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged, And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight, And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly, The surface glittered out of heart of light, And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children, Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present.
II Garlic and sapphires in the mud Clot the bedded axle-tree.
The trilling wire in the blood Sings below inveterate scars Appeasing long forgotten wars.
The dance along the artery The circulation of the lymph Are figured in the drift of stars Ascend to summer in the tree We move above the moving tree In light upon the figured leaf And hear upon the sodden floor Below, the boarhound and the boar Pursue their pattern as before But reconciled among the stars.
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.
III Here is a place of disaffection Time before and time after In a dim light: neither daylight Investing form with lucid stillness Turning shadow into transient beauty With slow rotation suggesting permanence Nor darkness to purify the soul Emptying the sensual with deprivation Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plenitude nor vacancy.
Only a flicker Over the strained time-ridden faces Distracted from distraction by distraction Filled with fancies and empty of meaning Tumid apathy with no concentration Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind That blows before and after time, Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs Time before and time after.
Eructation of unhealthy souls Into the faded air, the torpid Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London, Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney, Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate.
Not here Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.
Descend lower, descend only Into the world of perpetual solitude, World not world, but that which is not world, Internal darkness, deprivation And destitution of all property, Desiccation of the world of sense, Evacuation of the world of fancy, Inoperancy of the world of spirit; This is the one way, and the other Is the same, not in movement But abstention from movement; while the world moves In appetency, on its metalled ways Of time past and time future.
IV Time and the bell have buried the day, The black cloud carries the sun away.
Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray Clutch and cling? Chill Fingers of yew be curled Down on us? After the kingfisher's wing Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still At the still point of the turning world.
V Words move, music moves Only in time; but that which is only living Can only die.
Words, after speech, reach Into the silence.
Only by the form, the pattern, Can words or music reach The stillness, as a Chinese jar still Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts, Not that only, but the co-existence, Or say that the end precedes the beginning, And the end and the beginning were always there Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now.
Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still.
Shrieking voices Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering, Always assail them.
The Word in the desert Is most attacked by voices of temptation, The crying shadow in the funeral dance, The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.
The detail of the pattern is movement, As in the figure of the ten stairs.
Desire itself is movement Not in itself desirable; Love is itself unmoving, Only the cause and end of movement, Timeless, and undesiring Except in the aspect of time Caught in the form of limitation Between un-being and being.
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight Even while the dust moves There rises the hidden laughter Of children in the foliage Quick now, here, now, always— Ridiculous the waste sad time Stretching before and after.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

The Naming Of Cats

 The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily, Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James, Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey-- All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter, Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames: Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter-- But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular, A name that's peculiar, and more dignified, Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular, Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride? Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum, Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat, Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum- Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over, And that is the name that you never will guess; The name that no human research can discover-- But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation, The reason, I tell you, is always the same: His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name: His ineffable effable Effanineffable Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Little Gidding

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, remembered 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 the 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 things shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one.
Little Gidding V, Four Quartets.
-- T.
S.
Eliot (1943)
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

The Old Gumbie Cat

 I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her coat is of the tabby kind, with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat; She sits and sits and sits and sits--and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat! But when the day's hustle and bustle is done, Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
And when all the family's in bed and asleep, She tucks up her skirts to the basement to creep.
She is deeply concerned with the ways of the mice-- Their behaviour's not good and their manners not nice; So when she has got them lined up on the matting, She teachs them music, crocheting and tatting.
I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots; Her equal would be hard to find, she likes the warm and sunny spots.
All day she sits beside the hearth or on the bed or on my hat: She sits and sits and sits and sits--and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat! But when the day's hustle and bustle is done, Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
As she finds that the mice will not ever keep quiet, She is sure it is due to irregular diet; And believing that nothing is done without trying, She sets right to work with her baking and frying.
She makes them a mouse--cake of bread and dried peas, And a beautiful fry of lean bacon and cheese.
I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots; The curtain-cord she likes to wind, and tie it into sailor-knots.
She sits upon the window-sill, or anything that's smooth and flat: She sits and sits and sits and sits--and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat! But when the day's hustle and bustle is done, Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
She thinks that the cockroaches just need employment To prevent them from idle and wanton destroyment.
So she's formed, from that lot of disorderly louts, A troop of well-disciplined helpful boy-scouts, With a purpose in life and a good deed to do-- And she's even created a Beetles' Tattoo.
So for Old Gumbie Cats let us now give three cheers-- On whom well-ordered households depend, it appears.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

WHAT THE THUNDER SAID

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
  After the frosty silence in the gardens
  After the agony in stony places
  The shouting and the crying
  Prison and palace and reverberation
  Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
  He who was living is now dead
  We who were living are now dying
  With a little patience                                                  330

  Here is no water but only rock
  Rock and no water and the sandy road
  The road winding above among the mountains
  Which are mountains of rock without water
  If there were water we should stop and drink
  Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
  Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
  If there were only water amongst the rock
  Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
  Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit                              340
  There is not even silence in the mountains
  But dry sterile thunder without rain
  There is not even solitude in the mountains
  But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
  From doors of mudcracked houses
                                                           If there were water
  And no rock
  If there were rock
  And also water
  And water                                                               350
  A spring
  A pool among the rock
  If there were the sound of water only
  Not the cicada
  And dry grass singing
  But sound of water over a rock
  Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
  Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
  But there is no water

  Who is the third who walks always beside you?                          360
  When I count, there are only you and I together
  But when I look ahead up the white road
  There is always another one walking beside you
  Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
  I do not know whether a man or a woman
  —But who is that on the other side of you?

  What is that sound high in the air
  Murmur of maternal lamentation
  Who are those hooded hordes swarming
  Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth                         370
  Ringed by the flat horizon only
  What is the city over the mountains
  Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
  Falling towers
  Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
  Vienna London
  Unreal

  A woman drew her long black hair out tight
  And fiddled whisper music on those strings
  And bats with baby faces in the violet light                            380
  Whistled, and beat their wings
  And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
  And upside down in air were towers
  Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
  And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.
In this decayed hole among the mountains In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.
It has no windows, and the door swings, 390 Dry bones can harm no one.
Only a cock stood on the rooftree Co co rico co co rico In a flash of lightning.
Then a damp gust Bringing rain Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves Waited for rain, while the black clouds Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
The jungle crouched, humped in silence.
Then spoke the thunder 400 DA Datta: what have we given? My friend, blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment's surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, we have existed Which is not to be found in our obituaries Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor In our empty rooms 410 DA Dayadhvam: I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in his prison Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus DA Damyata: The boat responded Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar 420 The sea was calm, your heart would have responded Gaily, when invited, beating obedient To controlling hands I sat upon the shore Fishing, with the arid plain behind me Shall I at least set my lands in order? London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina Quando fiam ceu chelidon— O swallow swallow Le Prince d'Aquitaine a la tour abolie 430 These fragments I have shored against my ruins Why then Ile fit you.
Hieronymo's mad againe.
Datta.
Dayadhvam.
Damyata.
Shantih shantih shantih Line 416 aetherial] aethereal Line 429 ceu] uti— Editor
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

 S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero, Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table; Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question.
.
.
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?" Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes, Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains, Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys, Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, And seeing that it was a soft October night, Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time For the yellow smoke that slides along the street Rubbing its back upon the window-panes; There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands That lift and drop a question on your plate, Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?" Time to turn back and descend the stair, With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— (They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!") My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin, My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin— (They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!") Do I dare Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute win reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all— Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume? And I have known the eyes already, known them all— The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase, And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, Then how should I begin To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? And how should I presume? And I have known the arms already, known them all— Arms that are braceleted and white and bare (But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!) Is it perfume from a dress That makes me so digress? Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume? And how should I begin? Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
.
.
.
.
.
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! Smoothed by long fingers, Asleep .
.
.
tired .
.
.
or it malingers, Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed, Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter, I am no prophet-and here's no great matter; I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all, After the cups, the marmalade, the tea, Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me, Would it have been worth while, To have bitten off the matter with a smile, To have squeezed the universe into a ball To roll it towards some overwhelming question, To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead, Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"— If one, settling a pillow by her head, Should say: "That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.
" And would it have been worth it, after all, Would it have been worth while, After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets, After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor— And this, and so much more?— It is impossible to say just what I mean! But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: Would it have been worth while If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, And turning toward the window, should say: "That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all.
" No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; Am an attendant lord, one that will do To swell a progress, start a scene or two, Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool Deferential, glad to be of use, Politic, cautious, and meticulous; Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; At times, indeed, almost ridiculous— Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old .
.
.
I grow old .
.
.
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves Combing the white hair of the waves blown back When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
Written by George Eliot | Create an image from this poem

The Choir Invisible

 Oh, may I join the choir invisible 
Of those immortal dead who live again 
In minds made better by their presence; live 
In pulses stirred to generosity, 
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn 
For miserable aims that end with self, 
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars, 
And with their mild persistence urge men's search 
To vaster issues.
So to live is heaven: To make undying music in the world, Breathing a beauteous order that controls With growing sway the growing life of man.
So we inherit that sweet purity For which we struggled, failed, and agonized With widening retrospect that bred despair.
Rebellious flesh that would not be subdued, A vicious parent shaming still its child, Poor anxious penitence, is quick dissolved; Its discords, quenched by meeting harmonies, Die in the large and charitable air, And all our rarer, better, truer self That sobbed religiously in yearning song, That watched to ease the burden of the world, Laboriously tracing what must be, And what may yet be better, -- saw within A worthier image for the sanctuary, And shaped it forth before the multitude, Divinely human, raising worship so To higher reverence more mixed with love, -- That better self shall live till human Time Shall fold its eyelids, and the human sky Be gathered like a scroll within the tomb Unread forever.
This is life to come, -- Which martyred men have made more glorious For us who strive to follow.
May I reach That purest heaven, -- be to other souls The cup of strength in some great agony, Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love, Beget the smiles that have no cruelty, Be the sweet presence of a good diffused, And in diffusion ever more intense! So shall I join the choir invisible Whose music is the gladness of the world.
Written by George Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Sweet Endings Come and Go Love

 "La noche buena se viene, 
La noche buena se va, 
Y nosotros nos iremos 
Y no volveremos mas.
" -- Old Villancico.
Sweet evenings come and go, love, They came and went of yore: This evening of our life, love, Shall go and come no more.
When we have passed away, love, All things will keep their name; But yet no life on earth, love, With ours will be the same.
The daisies will be there, love, The stars in heaven will shine: I shall not feel thy wish, love, Nor thou my hand in thine.
A better time will come, love, And better souls be born: I would not be the best, love, To leave thee now forlorn.