Comfort Reading

dec-2008-188The last Christmas present has been wrapped (Misty Garden by Jo Sharp in Rowan Damask), I have had a lovely pre-Christmas get-together with friends and I 'just' need to pack my bag now. Yes, that was a slightly hysterical 'just' there. Christmas stress has finally set in and I'm getting slightly frayed at the edges. What do you mean that I 'just* need to pack? Don't you understand how that means I need to find matching socks, clothes that match and a suitable knitting project?!

Thankfully I have enough time to sit down and think to myself: "Yes, TS Eliot has wonderful sentence structures" which automatically means I am less stressed.

The child wonders at the Christmas Tree: Let him continue in the spirit of wonder At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext; So that the glittering rapture, the amazement Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree, So that the surprises, delight in new possessions (Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell), The expectation of the goose or turkey And the expected awe on its appearance, So that the reverence and the gaiety May not be forgotten in later experience, In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium, The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure, Or in the piety of the convert Which may be tainted with a self-conceit Displeasing to God and disrespectful to the children

Eliot's "The Cultivation of Christmas Trees" is rather obscure as Eliot poems go. It is a continuation of the mystical-religious poetry he wrote in the mid-1930s to late 1940s - the poetry that hardly ever gets anthologised and only occasionally gets taught. I am not a religious person myself, but I derive much comfort from Eliot's poetry (both the heady early Modernist period and the mystical late years).

Today it was a pleasure and a respite to sit down with "The Cultivation of Christmas Trees" and just let myself drift into the convoluted-ness of it all. A pleasure.

Oh, and happy birthday to my mother who is ever-young. I don't know how she does it but I suspect she must have a portrait hidden away in the attic..