In an irony T S Eliot might himself have appreciated, and perhaps incorporated into one of his earlier poems, it is proposed to build 3700 houses in the fields next to East Coker, home of Eliot's ancestors, resting place of his own mortal remains and inspiration for the second of his Four Quartets - and, to its enduring misfortune, near neighbour of Yeovil.
A council spokesman said: "We absolutely acknowledge their concerns and we will look at each and every one of the comments that we have received."
In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
It is difficult to judge what the later Eliot would really have thought of it. There would be no doubt with John Betjeman, but perhaps that means he was the surer, but less weighty poet. Eliot's poetry is still, in some sense, the touchstone of the 'modern', although it almost suggests, at times, a place in Private Eye, and the occasion of his writing is nearly a century in the past.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
In a statement, Ric Pallister (perhaps he could drop the 't' by deed poll), leader of the Liberal Democrat-run South Somerset District Council, said it was "very definitely not in our interests to destroy East Coker or its setting".
He added, as he measured out his life in planning policies, a fate from which Eric Pickles, as immortalised in his new vision of England known as The Waste Land, is shortly to release him: "The proposals, which are still a work in progress in themselves, so far suggest that the general area to the south of Yeovil could be the best direction for growth, but there are no proposals to develop East Coker village."
Perhaps he should seek the advice of Ezra Pound, Il miglior fabbro. He'd cut out a thing or two. Come to think of it, what would Pound have done with the Four Quartets?
|The young Pound|
The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part
|The older Pound, by Gaudier Brzeska|
|Gaudier Brzeska: not to be confused with the above|
Sophie Gaudier-Brzeska died intestate in the Gloucestershire Mental hospital at Barnwood in March 1925. H.S.Ede acquired her estate in 1927 from the Treasury Solicitor, it included not only her writings, but also the estate of Henri Gaudier, with many of his works and papers. Ede drew extensively on the letters written by Gaudier to Sophie and her writings and other material when he published ‘A Life of Gaudier-Brzeska’ in 1930.