For my notable quote this week, I will continue the Eliot motif and highlight a passage from his most famous and influential poem, "The Wasteland." This passage was so distinct I used to have it memorized. Unfortunately my memory is not what it once was.
|What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow|
|Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,||20|
|You cannot say, or guess, for you know only|
|A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,|
|And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,|
|And the dry stone no sound of water. Only|
|There is shadow under this red rock,||25|
|(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),|
|And I will show you something different from either|
|Your shadow at morning striding behind you|
|Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;|
|I will show you fear in a handful of dust.|
Lots of memorable phrases in that passage, but the the phrase that sticks out for me is "you know only/A heap of broken images." God is omniscient; man only sees limited and fragmented impressions. That's one of the keys to understanding a lot of Eliot's work. You can read the entire poem here.