Sexual Fables
This article accompanies the fable
Beauty & the Beast

T.S. Eliot’s Burnt Norton (1935)

Burnt Norton (below) is a country house in the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire.  Nowadays people like to get married there, but back in the 1930s, T.S. Eliot visited it frequently and the house and its rose garden evoked in him a nostalgia for Britain’s faded splendor.  The ghosts and sounds of children playing that he sensed in the strange mix of past-in-the-present-and-future can still be felt in such places. 

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.

Eliot is buried in St. Michael’s Church in East Coker, near Yeovil in Somerset, from where one of his ancestors had emigrated to Massachusetts in the 17th century. The town gave its name to the second of the Four Quartets. The third and fourth poems are The Dry Salvages and Little Gidding.

Burnt Norton

The Four Quartets are my favorite poems and I share the view that there are exquisite correspondences: Burnt Norton (autumn/air), East Coker (summer/earth), The Dry Salvages (spring/water), Little Gidding (winter/fire).

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

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