Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice.
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers.Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1888, the last of seven children in a transplanted Bostonian/English immigrant family. Among his esteemed ancestors were a missionary preacher, a Harvard University president, and the founder/chancellor of Washington University. His father was a prosperous brick-maker. His mother, a poet and deeply religious, raised him to practice self-denial to the point that he felt guilty for enjoying any pleasure, harmless as it may be, for the rest of his life. Suffering from a congenital hernia, young Eliot turned his attention to his books instead of social sports and games. From the beginning, Eliot was painfully aware of his own sinfulness and the need for atonement. Yet it would take him years of battling the angst, skepticism, and disillusionment prevalent in the early twentieth century to find the peace that had eluded him. O let thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint. If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss: O Lord, who may abide it?
There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands That lift and drop a question on your plate; Time for you and time for me, And yet time for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea.
Patricia Anders (MA, MFA, Chapman University) is managing editor of Modern Reformation magazine.
Issue: "Forgiven, Forgiving" March/April 2004 Vol. 13 No. 2 Page number(s): 36-39
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