axis mundi

3 August, 2008 § Leave a comment

the combination of the magnificence of sibelius’ second symphony and t.s. eliot’s four quartets is just what i need to calm the restlessness in me.  calm?  no, not really.  it would be more accurate to say that it feeds the restlessness ironically by reminding me of what is like to find the elusive stillness that all of us seek at some point in our lives.

i search for that stillness always.  for me, at least, it exists only in a moment and when it is over, i seldom remember the details.  only the feeling of being what eliot calls “at the still point of the turning world”.  axis mundi.

and how breathtaking are the nine solitary notes played by the oboe in the third movement of the sibelius.  its melody is still and yet the tension within threatens to pull you from your place.  in nine notes, i feel myself being moved both back and forth in time, recollecting a moment gone by and anticipating something that is yet to come.

Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
Not that only, but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.

from Burnt Norton, Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot.


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