Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Sunday poem

I haven't made an entry in my What is poetry? series for ages (three and a half years!!), but coming across this bit of Eliot the other day has prompted me to return to it.  So many great phrases in this - "undisciplined squads of emotion"; yes indeed, I know that feeling.

So, here I am.... 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

T.S. Eliot (from Four Quartets)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mmm, T.S. Eliot is where I first learned the word "chimera." Verse V, Burnt Norton. I need to pull out some Eliot. Good reminder, this.