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· Teach Us to Sit Still ·

Because I do not hope to turn, as T. S. Eliot says in Ash Wednesday, "Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope," today I offer from the poem a small part without added comment:

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

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Thanks for the timely reminder of Eliot's majestic poem. In the same regard ("Teach us to sit still"), there's Milton: "They also serve who only stand and wait."

A holy and blessed Lent to you and yours as, together, we all wait.

Posted by Huldah M. on February 28, 2004 12:36 PM


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