Sunday, August 7, 2011


East Coker was a special place for both Cathy and me, and since I had other photos which I thought worth posting, I did the picture essay as a companion piece to my earlier post.

Neither of my posts are quite what I wanted them to be, but they will have to do. Eliot does not find satisfaction in his poetic words, so who am I to complain if my poor efforts seem lacking to me?

St Michael's showing the clock

Baptismal font

St Michael's and scattered gravestones

The poetry bench and more gravestones

Stained glass window in St Michael's

And another

Cathy's beloved cows in the field next to the churchyard (Sorry I didn't do better by your cows, Cathy.)

Thatched cottage near the Helyar Arms

Planting behind the Helyar Arms

The dining room at the Helyar Arms

Since T. S. Eliot's poem played a great part in making our visit special, I leave you with another quote from 'East Coker':
That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us
Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
The serenity only a deliberate hebetude,
The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
Useless in the darkness into which they peered
Or from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us,
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

UPDATE: The church with the tower, which I had originally pictured, was not St Michael's Church. I corrected the post. Thanks to Lapin for calling my attention to the mistake.