Sunday, November 20, 2016

What is Late November Doing?

This morning I re-discovered T.S. Eliot's poem sequence  Four Quartets.

It's been a favorite of mine since I first read it fifty years ago in college.  In fact, when I gave the welcome address at our commencement ( NOT the valedictory!)  I spun my speech from its words

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.

Today when I read the whole sequence again, I saw so much that I have missed in it over the years. Maybe I had to be this old to see it.

For now, just look at these lines:

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.


TS Eliot East Coker



It quite describes the sixty and seventy degree days we've been having, which finally have given way to northwest winds and thirty degrees. 

1 comment:

Mary McElveen said...

One of my favorites as well--thank you for reminding me --and maybe I should go back and read yet again...