"Ash Wednesday" by Karen-Laub Novak

  “Ash Wednesday” print series by artist Karen Laub-Novak, based upon T.S. Eliot's poem by the same name.  To learn more about Karen and her art visit http://www.laub-novakart.com/index.html.

Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot

 Because I do not hope to turn again Because I do not hope Because I do not hope to turn Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope I no longer strive to strive towards such things (Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)…

The Lady is withdrawn In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown. Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness. There is no life in them. As I am forgotten And would be forgotten, so I would forget Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose.

At the first turning of the second stair I turned and saw below The same shape twisted on the banister Under the vapour in the fetid air Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears The deceitul face of hope and of despair…

…Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair, Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair Climbing the third stair.

Redeem The time. Redeem The unread vision in the higher dream While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse…

…Redeem the time, redeem the dream The token of the word unheard, unspoken.

Word is unspoken, unheard; Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard, The Word without a word, the Word within The world and for the world; And the light shone in darkness and Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled About the centre of the silent Word.

Although I do not hope to turn again Although I do not hope Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss In this brief transit where the dreams cross The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying…

….And the blind eye creates The empty forms between the ivory gates And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth.