Saturday, March 19, 2011
Plus, sandwiched in between the pre- and post-prandial delights, was the "four course" meal, the Quartets. I so enjoyed that. That gathering took place in an adjacent daylit, sparely furnished room. On the seats where we took our places were tiny printed chapbooks of the Eliot poem. The conceit of the evening was that three young poets would read excerpts from the poem, afterward offer their individual views, and then lead whatever discussion might result.
I so enjoyed the out-loud reading of the text part. I sat in my seat by myself off to the side, there were perhaps 25-30 others scattered in the audience about the room as well. The three young poets at the front of the room, and one from the audience besides, a young woman with a Slavic accent, read the first "movement" of each of the four major poems that comprise the "quartets." And it was just so peaceful and - I don't know, liturgical - to hear the readings, the cadences, the impassioned yet simple rhythmic readings - really - and it was about five o'clock, or a bit after - but it felt like a five o'clock mass. Well, T.S. Eliot did convert to Catholicism at some point in his life, and the poems are suffused with - well, I don't know if Catholicism, precisely (was J.S. Bach Catholic? that quality, circling, searching, eternal return, "the end is the beginning...")
Anyway. I just so appreciated and savored sitting there hearing the four beautiful individual voices reading aloud from the work. And from time to time as the light shifted in the room or I'd see movement outside the windows, a flock of dark birds flitting past in the screen of light - it was just beautiful.
I thought of you, and think you would have been at home there at that moment. We might have smiled at each other and touched hands...
Many kisses, darling, good night.