TASK: Select the one modernist poem or text that you found spoke to you most directly. Quote the text and tell us how the text moved you.
The modernist poem that most affected me was “Burnt Norton” by T.S. Eliot. The stanza that most stood out to me was the fifth stanza because it talks about the importance of words and how they can have such a huge impact if you only let them.
When Eliot writes, “Words, after speech, reach into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern, can words or music reach the stillness, as a Chinese jar moves perpetually in its stillness”. This particular part of the text moved me because it talks about the impact that words can have on us, whether they be kind and encouraging words, or words that are meant to scare us and put the fear of God into us. Eliot basically says that, after they are spoken, words still linger in the silence that follows. The silence can be the other person formulating a response to what was just said or letting the words sink in or just thinking about what the words mean and what message they are supposed to convey.
Eliot uses a wonderful analogy next of a Chinese jar and he says that a Chinese jar is an inanimate object and, therefore, doesn’t move or talk or do anything meaningful but it can still mean something to someone and make an impact on them, if only they let it and take their time to ponder it. Eliot compares words to a Chinese jar and implores his audience to also, like the Chinese jar, let words have an impact on people like art does.