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This year has an extra day. Spend it somewhere special, or somewhere interesting. Or do what you usually do, time is a concept.
  • Poetry - Frozen Strings
  • Editorial - Eliot's Ash Wednesday.
  • Unreal Images in the WWW.
  • Housekeeping.

Poetry - Frozen Strings

The hand touches down
(subtle, and oh so fragile)

Onto the frozen strings,
Attached to the grand workings of the world.

Unsure, wether to rest or to move
On towards unknown shores, they stay. Still.

After a while, the tone (dutifully at work, filling the room)
Dies down, remembered only by your ears and slow birds, flying by.

It is okay to rest, the hand thinks.
The frozen strings awake, and swallow it whole.

Editorial - Eliot's Ash Wednesday

It's been some time, since I last wrote a proper poem, which in itself is contradictory, who even knows what a poem really is? But the last time I had sat down with the intention to write a poem is some time ago. Yet, it really should not come as a surprise that the person who drew me back to poetry is also the one who had made me start writing poetry in the beginning: T.S. Eliot. Scrolling through Twitter one past day, I found a wonderful review of Eliot's Easter poems, published in 1930 in his collection "Ash Wednesday", by the TLS. At the very top of the article, the author quotes the beginning of the eponymous poem: "Because I do not hope to turn again / Because I do not hope / Because I do not hope to turn". Evocative and strangely forceful. even in their simplicity. For me, they are an example par excellence for what poetry can achieve.
Written during Eliot's conversion towards the Anglican Church, the six poems containing collection is his finest, even compared to his first collection - The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The style conversed from a highly ironic to a meditative tone, the poetic persona become more focused, whilst the typical longing and despair is still but barely visible: "Because I cannot drink / There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again". The second poem then swings from the joy of having found absolution, towards struggling to come to terms with deserving a life of eternity: "Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness. / There is no life in them. As I am forgotten / And would be forgotten, so I would forget." Living onwards, absolved from a corporeal form and its attachment to sin and love, Eliot strives for "This [...] land which ye / Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity / Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance." The third poem introduced the thickness of all-consuming doubt: "Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair. / Lord, I am not worthy
", which the formulaic composition of poem artfully juxtaposes. Unlike in the past, his beliefs gives him hope and stability, as the last stanza records: "Lord, I am not worthy / but speak the word only.", a theme that is only continued in the fourth poem: "Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring / With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem / The time. Redeem / The unread vision in the higher dream." Alas, this vision, real as it may be, can still not be put into words, making the world "Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew" an eternal exile. But where then is the promised land, when "[t]he right time and the right place are not here / No place of grace for those who avoid the face / No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice". The more questioning the atmosphere, the more beautiful his poetry becomes. The sixth poem concludes the quest, even though the persona is still "[w]avering between the profit and the loss / In this brief transit where the dreams cross". Ultimately, the poems do not lend themselves to a quick resolution, a simply solution. But even though, there is something and someone to direct the quest(ions) towards: "Suffer me not to be separated / And let my cry come unto Thee." Eliot, in the end, has truly found his home in the Anglican Church.
If you also want to meditate on Eliot's poem, simply follow this link.

Unreal Images in the WWW

The projects I teased you last time with came to and end and are now avaible for your pleasure:
They have been so much fun to make, but the next projects have to wait, as my teaching and studying will demand a lot of time in March. There will still be a regular podcast episode, though.


Mailchimp, the lovely email-provider sending you these emails, just introduced a new feature: websites. Because you cannot have enough websites, I'm setting up mine at the moment. But, as this feature is still in its beta phase, things might break over time. Anyways, you can already write down this website on a post-it and tape it on your computer screen for future use. Or visit it now, via this link. More to come.

Post Note

Lovely people that you are, come gather 'round for this important message: You rock! Not just in the shower, screaming from the top of your lungs to the sounds of 4 Non Blondes, but every single minute. Now go and enjoy this coming weekend, will yer!
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