Eliot’s Poetry

by: T. S. Eliot

Four Quartets: “The Dry Salvages”

Quotes Four Quartets: “The Dry Salvages”
I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable, Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier; Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce; Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing, No end to the withering of withered flowers, To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless, To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage, The bone’s prayer to Death its God. Only the hardly, barely prayable Prayer of the one Annunciation.
I have said before That the past experience revived in the meaning Is not the experience of one life only But of many generations—not forgetting Something that is probably quite ineffable: The backward look behind the assurance Of recorded history, the backward half-look Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror.
Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past Into different lives, or into any future; You are not the same people who left that station Or who will arrive at any terminus, While the narrowing rails slide together behind you; And on the deck of the drumming liner Watching the furrow that widens behind you, You shall not think ‘the past is finished’ Or ‘the future is before us’.
For most of us, there is only the unattended Moment, the moment in and out of time, The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight, The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply That it is not heard at all, but you are the music While the music lasts.