Beginning Again At The Mouth of the River
Often I'll think of adding something here, and then
think, why would I do that? I feel strangely
embarassed about the idea, like why would anyone
want to to see this, or, everybody knows about
this, say, or has read it.
This is what happened with these lines from *Four Quartets*
by TS Eliot. Ah, the old anti-semite, everybody's bored with his stilted
mawkish jokes and musings. But then I reread it in a few minutes and think:
(I'm moving so I'm starting to pack my books and this one somehow ended
up on the floor in front of my reading chair)-
But it's all there, isn't it, a lot of what I think about still.
"Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past."
This is what I understand as the basis of
time travel. If we examine the past carefully,
we find correspondances and links to the present,
possibly by means of a kind of linking between the two,
a very brief hopskotch into the future.
"Go, go, go said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.'
This seems obvious, yet again...
"Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present"
Gertrude Stein all the way.
..."Time past and time future
Allow but little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time...
Only through time, time is conquered."
Now we're getting into the meat of the matter.
For most, all that can be expected is
",,,Only a flicker
over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction"
A simpler, or more basic description or diagnosis of contemporary consciousness
is hard to imagine- so much said in five words
about what continues to be the heart of the backsliding
observeable in the overall human ability to focus and comprehend
a situation and its implications, its roots and branches into the future.
"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 sometime break, under the burden
Will not stay still....
It appears that a pattern is being sought, but this
"For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been..."
This timeless place is in time and is found
most of all in memories.
"There is a time for the evening under starlight
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album)"
And despite this, due to time's ultimate paradox
"...not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left that station
Or will arrive at any terminus...
You shall not think "the past is finished"
Or "the future is before us."
Because the final surprise is
"I sometimes wonder of that is what Krishna meant-
...The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death'- that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
So it seems that
The point of intersection of the timeless
with time, is an occupation for the saint-
No occupation either, but something given
Since this is an impossibility, yet human
must move towards this,
"...right action is freedom
From past and future also,
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realized..."
That this is an idealization is acknowledged,
so we have to search the past for specifics
to ground ourselves in life as we actually live
"We die with the dying:
See, they depart and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
After all this learning, and striving to
connect with all being and not-being
"We shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
Full circle: the paradox of living is
not eternity, but the interconnection
between all states of being and not-being
There is a kind of surprise in all experience
which is a constant reminder of 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."
At first the sound of the waterfall
is distant and strange, maybe even
an invasion of the quiet soundlessness.
Something is jarring, a sound is heard'
as though a thought wanted to be heard.
The thought at first was a naive thought,
a shy being hardly even dressed or self-aware.
It has to be left to itself to find its feet at last,
to find a way to dress itself, and then address
itself to others to be heard.
Now, again I guess I'll leave these poems to themselves
for awhile, even a long while, it doesn't matter. They
themselves more and more become what they tried
to address in the world- finally becoming more known
than unknown, and thus becoming less distinguishable
from their objects.
I just noticed that "The Dry Salvages" is a small group
of rocks ,with a beacon, off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann
All these books scattered around like rocks on the shores
of my consciousness. Or are they the shores of my consciousness?