Guest artist: T.S. Eliot

"The Source of the Lison" (1866) by Gustave Courbet

An excerpt from “Ash Wednesday”

This is the time of tension between dying and birth.
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, Spirit of the fountain,
Spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks,
Sister, Mother
And Spirit of the river, Spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), born in the United States but naturalized as an English citizen in 1927, is widely considered one of the most important English-language poets of the 20th century. “Ash Wednesday” (1930) was the first long poem Eliot wrote after his conversion to Anglicanism in 1927; its frank exploration of his newfound faith made some among the more secular literati uncomfortable. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1948.
Gustave Courbet‘s “The Source of the Lison” depicts the spring source of the Lison River in France’s Loue Valley, the area from which Courbet came and which he often painted in his landscapes. “It comes into being at the bottom of a [limestone] cave at the end of a long subterranean passage,” according to the website Franche-Compté.org, and often overfills with water during heavy rains and in the springtime.

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