Neither The Wild Thyme Unseen Nor The Wild Strawberry: A Poem

The first poem is an excerpt from Eliot’s Four Quartets, the second–a reply–my own.


I. From T. S. Eliot, “East Coker,” Four Quartets

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.


And I said to Myself, O gentle Atman,
What is this death and
what this birth?
What is either to Me?

Unbecome am I
so that I never once
thought of death
as taking off an old, tight shoe.
No, not even once.
How silly would that have been?

Meet me, O friends,
where there is neither darkness nor light,
neither the wild thyme unseen nor the wild strawberry.
No this, no that.
No am, no is.
No I, nor you.
Just radiant love true.