June 18th, 2008

breaking bad

Thoughts on Burnt Norton

I have been thinking a lot about TS Eliot's poem Burnt Norton, which is currently my favourite poem. If people are interested I am thinking of posting some thoughts. The poem can be read here if you would like to see it in one piece.
(ETA - a few glitches there while I repaired the HTML, should be OK now)

Burnt Norton

Burnt Norton is a manor house which burnt down, was rebuilt, converted to an orphanage and was then abandoned. Everything about the place Burnt Norton, even its name, is therefore suggestive of the passing away of time, and of the loss of the past. Some people think that the poem Burnt Norton is about the persistence of the past. I think the opposite: it is about how we are surrounded on all sides by nothingness and obliteration. Well, OK, it is also about the trace the destroyed past leaves in the present.
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