9 Aug
Posted in: Poems
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The Use of Memory

I was at Spirit Rock’s Day of Poetry (on Zoom) yesterday, hosted by Phillip Moffitt, and the lines of poetry that are still speaking to me are from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, which wasn’t even one of the poems we were contemplating. But in talking about one of the poems that we were contemplating, someone made reference to the dharma in the Four Quartets, at which point Phillip promptly got out his T.S. Eliot and read this to us:

There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:
Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment
From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference
Which resembles the others as death resembles life,
Being between two lives—unflowering, between
The live and the dead nettle.

I’ve heard those lines read many times, but this time instead of stopping at that point, Phillip continued reading just a bit — and it was these extra few lines that really stuck with me:

…This is the use of memory:
For liberation–not less of love but expanding
Of love beyond desire, and so liberation
From the future as well as the past…


I don’t even know what those line mean, exactly. Especially: liberation from the future.

But I do know that it mean something to me. And coming to know what that something is, is important.


Photo by Maria Bobrova on Unsplash

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