The Four Quartets 2: Burnt Norton

We began today’s session by reflecting on some of the key ideas in Burnt Norton, in particular the relevance of the following quotes from from parts III, IV and V of the poem. These summarize Eliot’s view of the modern human condition and also his aspiration towards a different quality of Being. You can hear the full discussion of this and indeed of the whole seminar by clicking on the sound track below. You can also view the images that were displayed during the seminar. View these alongside your listening to the talk and discussion.

Towards the end of the seminar we spent time in small groups discussing the meaning of the whole of section IV with its focus on the Kingfisher…. enjoy!

The Chinese Jar was provided by Rose! Thank you…..  Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 9.28.49 pm


Find all images used during the presentation here (click on the title Burnt Norton):

Burnt Norton

And tune into the audio by clicking on this link:

  1 comment for “The Four Quartets 2: Burnt Norton

  1. Peter Solway
    November 17, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Burnt Concerns

    up=donne… Epigrahus textin;

    Logos lost, mind your lone step

    train always departing, now gone…Central left…platform none!

    Loud civic announcements, Black Tuesday to commence

    then Ash Wednesday to repent,

    personal property, life lament

    (because i do not hope to turn

    flee solid flames, charred remains

    endless forms of distractions’ claims…)

    although, Ash Wednesday, thinking-man’s plan

    not this morn’s curriculum. Burnt Norton to begin as planned!

    Fixed on score with pattern, random repetition

    jazz loving kookaburra yodelling tomorra

    ha ha ha, fire gunna get ya! Bad antipodean humour:

    Burnt Norton, associations grim this bombed morning

    but to Anzac Simson on, the promised future

    mansion of mule, familiar minds now & forever

    wings after?

    Library gone, piano just bones,

    mud from dust from New Orleans

    music of all sense to brightly dream,

    highly combustible realities!

    Skilled lecturer, director , fruitier

    eager to retire, return home sooner rather than later

    flood the gutters, insure future laughter with water

    warm rafters, watch suntanned green-rebegin

    black trunks of evening

    slap of summer’s surf

    yelping dogs of kids to sand rejoice….


    Swing of spinning tire

    discover still centre

    body of Christ and Buddha

    tea-time to natter, terrible black weather;

    But what a Bunning’s sprinkler

    refreshing salvation’s’ gutters,

    helicopters saving love’s excesses

    decks of hosed deliverance

    Christmas of camels…

    Ts to hardly matter,

    compared to factual forest fire

    farm of long-term desire, sweating;

    biodiversity , hazards reductions not working,

    far from rushed city of hidden-radiation;

    library of signed editions threatened

    piano of grand-parents

    un-tuned to be brutally beethovened;

    fish all Classically-named, Icarus &

    Epigraphus steamed ; pure , distilled perfection,

    boiling liquid medium

    feeding fevered thought, the simplest meditation


    cognition of corinthian columns, breathe out then in!

    But threat on jagged- horizon where Dante looms

    kindling with blistered ambitions, devils broth begins,

    Ash Wednesday never to turn a roast again

    heavens damnation, dried-out dam with aboriginal name,

    blacked-out curtains, memories grandparents wailing.

    Fireproof the bright beyond, England wins;

    typist on train, Wasteland in serial form

    music of commuting tracks no Brahms

    (metal luck, bad fuck, sad facts…)

    Medal -proud-art, reality report!

    Hero carnal as Epigus, brave as Icarus

    prayed for by nun’s eternal

    shaved in Damascus Central

    firm arm of bronze and noozle

    showering home, steaming flame

    wax unmelted, Mars to come;

    saving a familiar kingdom of meaning.

    Tom his modest name

    not hoping to turn again!


    Boiled in a traffic jam

    ts eliot getting harder and harder to understand,

    to comprehend, concentrations windscreen delirium shouting

    downtown, hot cars purring, dumb visions, yellow women with signs:

    whilst mansions blacken, beggars with thesis sicken,texta on cardboard written

    fry with banners of impending change, faulty brains, hydrogen bomb atoll above the drain!


    Chill historic man, youth will farm the wind

    craft better scenes, on-line farms of Eden.

    Few trees to slice-down, shade for everyone!

    Democracy in practice, comrades to visit

    mass harvest, hemp from Everest

    stitch and smoke

    Tomorrow’s forests already grown,

    summer still a kid’s see-saw and swing

    holiday in Provence for typist and friend;

    horns to chime, Catholic and Anglican

    grapes and such well-trod wine to ferment!


    Weekend forecast, better than ever:

    rain and isobars in the never-never.

    And mamma in a boat out-back;

    light-white mackintosh, no hat to blow

    waving hello! Rain at last

    Distance to float, remain intact;

    no need to follow, ski in wake

    Centre of Dry-Lake Mungo,

    Australia in fact , slow -still -go.

    Stars , blue her dress so wet

    red her dust and sunset!

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