I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you (from Four Quartets)

by T. S. Eliot


Original Language English

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.

-- from Four Quartets, by T. S. Eliot

| More Poems by T. S. Eliot | Next Poem >>


/ Photo by jaytkendall /


View All Poems by T. S. Eliot

Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Last night, I had to real pleasure of listening to a talk by Kim Rosen, author of Saved by a Poem. 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, 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...


Kim Rosen spoke these lines by T.S. Eliot 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.

If you're looking for ways to engage more deeply with poetry, I highly recommend Kim Rosen's book, Saved by a Poem. And if you get a chance, definitely attend one of her talks or workshops. You can find out more about Kim Rosen through her website:

www.kimrosen.net



Recommended Books: T. S. Eliot

Four Quartets Collected Poems, 1909-1962 Complete Poems and Plays,: 1909-1950 The Waste Land and Other Writings T. S. Eliot: The Poems
More Books >>





I said to my soul