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And light directed through the coloured panes of window

Two verses from Chorus X from the Rock by T.S. Eliot are very significant for Christians.

“Too bright for mortal vision.

O Greater Light, we praise Thee for the less;

The eastern light our spires touch at morning,

The light that slants upon our western doors at evening,

The twilight over stagnant pools at bat-flight,

Moon light and star light, owl and moth light,

Glow-worm glowlight on a grassblade.

O Light Invisible, we worship Thee!”

T.S. Eliot’s  most well known poem is the “Four Quartets,” but there are verses and lines in. his  Choruses from the Rock that resonate powerfully with many who love poetry and especially T. S. Eliot. He is my favourite. Perhaps more than any other poet, it is his combination of words that forms within us our response to the words. This is true of all poetry. Poems don’t offer factual information, that is the main function of prose. Good poetry evokes images within the soul that bring  us close to God. It’s the same with music, Beethoven’s 3rd and 7th symphonies for example. Wagner’s Ring Cycle contains some of the greatest music ever composed.

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And light directed through the coloured panes of window

I’m  particularly drawn to this following section of Chorus X.

We thank Thee for the light that we have kindled,

The light of altar and of sanctuary;

Small light of those who meditate at midnight

And light directed through the coloured panes of window

And light reflected from the polished stone,

The gilded cavern wood, the coloured fresco.

Our gaze is submarine, our eyes look upward

And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.

We see the light but see not whence it comes.

O Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!

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Those wonderful lines – “And light directed through the coloured panes of window”

“And light reflected from the polished stone,” evoke within us that initial memory of when we first  enter a medieval cathedral like Winchester. (Photo)

Th line,  “We thank Thee for the light that we have kindled,” is extraordinarily profound. We are reminded that in our cathedrals and churches with their furnishings we have kindled the light that reflects the greater light that cannot be seen with the eye, but nevertheless can be glimpsed by the soul. Dear T.S.Eliot has directed our spirit to that invisible Light of Christ that resonates throughout the Gospels and especially that of the Beloved Disciple.

O Light Invisible, we praise Thee!

Too bright for mortal vision,

O Greater Light, we praise Thee for the less. 

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Moon light reflected on the beach at Hayle in Cornwall “And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.”

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