Thursday, June 25, 2009

"To care and not to care"

Well, my life got a bit crazy as of late, and on top of that, I came down with swine flu (or something very much like it... still trying to recover), so I've been missing from the blogosphere from most of June. Apologies for that. Tonight I was sitting on my bed with Infinite Jest, my potential summer project (which I'm sure is destined for the wayside much like last summer's 'classic movies' project - most of which have been pushed lower and lower in my Netflix queue) sitting open in front of me, and I started to procrastinate. You're shocked, I know. Procrastinating involved catching up on some blog reading.

Recently, Jeanne posted this portion of T.S. Eliot's "Ash Wednesday" on her blog. It really struck me today. For those who don't understand why I like Eliot, maybe this will help. Enjoy.

***

Ash Wednesday

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us . . .

Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I hope you're feeling better. I'm reading Infinite Jest as part of Infinite Summer too. I love David Foster Wallace and have read almost everything else by him. I've been meaning to read IJ for a while now but never felt I had adequate time to set aside and really focus on it.

http://web.archive.org/web/20080213082423/http://www.marginalia.org/dfw_kenyon_commencement.html

Have you read that? It's now in book form but the book omits a lot (especially some suicide references). Anyway, I put up a bunch of interviews with him on the blog a few weeks ago too. Maybe those will help keep you interested in the book.