Friday 23rd March 2018


rocks in desert

‘Ash Wednesday’ by T.S. Eliot

The poem ‘Ash Wednesday’ has been described as ‘the greatest achievement of Eliot’s poetry’, and was the first long poem written by him after his conversion to Anglicanism in 1927.

The title, of course, refers to the first of the forty days of Lent, and the poem deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith in the past strives to move towards God.

The season of Lent calls us to self-examination, and to a desire for God. ‘Ash Wednesday’, although too long to reproduce on this blog, closes with Eliot’s prayer, which alludes to reflection amongst the rocks of the desert:

Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.

Richard Elliott


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