• David Carlson

896: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing - T.S. Eliot

Day 896: Monday, August 29, 2022

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.



We owe a debt of gratitude to JoAnn, Jim, Marcie and Pat who designed such a marvelous liturgy for us yesterday. During our shared homily we discovered the myriad and creative ways we each approach our prayer lives. I loved it that Luis quoted a famous fragment of a poem by T.S. Eliot. For so many people this has become a mantra of waiting and hoping and becoming silent. I hope it inspires all of us to be still, to wait, to let the darkness lead us to find a new way to dance.


From Section III of East Coker from The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot



I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you

Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,

The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed

With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,

And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama

And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away--



Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations

And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence

And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen

Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;

Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing--



I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith



Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.

The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,

The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy

Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony

Of death and birth


https://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/Poets/E/EliotTS/Isaidtomysou/index.html



A few years ago, Kim Rosen, author of Saved by a Poem spoke about the importance of poetry. It wasn't so much a poetry reading as an exploration of how poetry can open our lives. She pointed out how a poem can be a teacher, when we deeply engage with it. Its rhythms pattern the breath, and the heartbeat. Its imagery blooms in the inner eye. Its fluid meaning sidesteps the linear mind, leading us to deeper, holistic awareness. A poem, she pointed out, can literally change our very biochemistry.


A poem, spoken at the right time, can free us. And it can bring healing in profound ways.


I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you

Which shall be the darkness of God... So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

- Kim Rosen spoke these lines to a friend struggling through chemotherapy.


A poem, held in the heart, spoken from the heart -- imagine what that can mean at such a moment of crisis. This is one of the great gifts to the world.


So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.


“When I began to listen to poetry, it’s when I began to listen to the stones, and I began to listen to what the clouds had to say, and I began to listen to the other. And I think, most importantly for all of us, then you begin to learn to listen to the soul, the soul of yourself in here, which is also the soul of everyone else.” —Joy Harjo


Announcement from Lindsey Kerr

Lindsey Kerr blessed us with her presence yesterday and I want to thank her for coming to our celebration for for offering this announcement for a special event on the 17th of September. Please RSVP if you'd like to attend.



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