Four meditations on lines by T.S. Eliot: part I


…King rules or barons rule; we have suffered various oppression, but mostly we are left to our own devices, and we are content if we are left alone.

We try to keep our households in order; the merchant, sly and cautious, tries to compile a little fortune, and the labourer bends to his piece of earth, earth colour, his own colour, preferring to pass unobserved.

Now I fear disturbance of the quiet seasons: winter shall come bringing death from the sea, ruinous spring shall beat at our doors, root and shoot shall eat at our eyes and our ears, disastrous summer burn up the beds of our streams and the poor shall wait for another decaying October.

Murder in the cathedral: part I.  T.S. Eliot


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15 responses to “Four meditations on lines by T.S. Eliot: part I

      • The underpainting was done in October. I could not work out what to do with it or even which way up it went. I found a sense of apocalypse in it, waves crashing over the land dwarfing human artefacts.
        I’ve been reading and listening to Eliot’s The Wasteland and then found Murder in the Cathedral in the Oxfam bookshop. I started working on this piece again listening to that on Spotify. Initially, I had the idea this would be shaped as a vast monumental building, like a cathedral but somehow the spires became trunks and I wrote in the two lines from the opening chorus. It is supposed to be a meditation on those words, not a picture as such. In the play Beckett is tempted four times, three he expected and rejects easily, the fourth is a shock and close to home. He is slain by four knights. There is a recurring motif of the turning wheel, including of time turning through the four seasons. Hence this is the first of four meditations. The second is begun … in my head.
        I can’t exactly remember how the painting started but I think it was a mix of pastel and graphite, then water and ink on stretched paper. Since then I’ve worked over it repeatedly with acrylic ink in fine strokes, with a dip pen or fine brush.

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