“Four Quartets: IV. Every Life a Poem” by T. S. Eliot

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 … Continue reading “Four Quartets: IV. Every Life a Poem” by T. S. Eliot

“Four Quartets: III. Freedom” by T. S. Eliot

The Dry Salvages Eliot weaves together almost seamlessly the teachings of Eastern and Western religions and philosophies in “The Dry Salvages”. First, there is a lesson from the Hindu scripture The Bhagavad Gita, “Do not think of the fruit of action. Fare forward”, which seems very similar to the deontological ethics of Kant and the ancient Stoics. We’re not to think of the fruit of … Continue reading “Four Quartets: III. Freedom” by T. S. Eliot

“La Vita Nuova” by Dante Alighieri

The Death of Beatrice I was a-thinking how life fails with us Suddenly after such a little while; When Love sobb’d in my heart, which is his home. Whereby my spirit wax’d so dolorous That in myself I said, with sick recoil: ‘Yea, to my lady too this Death must come.’ And therewithal such a bewilderment Possess’d me, that I shut mine eyes for peace; … Continue reading “La Vita Nuova” by Dante Alighieri

“Four Quartets: II. Fear and Humility” by T. S. Eliot

East Coker 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 … Continue reading “Four Quartets: II. Fear and Humility” by T. S. Eliot

“Four Quartets” by T. S. Eliot

I chose to read Four Quartets because of this fascinating blurb at Wikipedia,”Four Quartets are four interlinked meditations with the common theme being man’s relationship with time, the universe, and the divine… Eliot blends his Anglo-Catholicism with mystical, philosophical and poetic works from both Eastern and Western religious and cultural traditions, with references to the Bhagavad-Gita and the Pre-Socratics as well as St. John of … Continue reading “Four Quartets” by T. S. Eliot

“Samson Agonistes” by John Milton

Samson Shorn All mortals I excell’d, and great in hopes With youthful courage and magnanimous thoughts Of birth from Heav’n foretold and high exploits, Full of divine instinct, after some proof Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond The Sons of Anac, famous now and blaz’d, Fearless of danger, like a petty God I walk’d about admir’d of all and dreaded On hostile ground, none daring … Continue reading “Samson Agonistes” by John Milton

“Paradise Regained” by John Milton

Humanity On Trial Milton recounts and reinterprets the Biblical story of Satan Tempting Christ in Paradise Regained, in which he lays open to criticism and derision the whole of human existence and history. There is a distinct undertone of defiance and bitterness. In the poem, Christ is represented, not so much as the only begotten Son of God, but a heroic moral figure, who triumphs … Continue reading “Paradise Regained” by John Milton