Sweet Like Honey

our family's journal of God at work

Where is the Life we have lost in living?

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Yesterday I listened to a message by Dr. Bruce Waltke called Proverbs and Culture. It was very good. I recently started listening to Dr. Waltke after hearing him on Michael Card’s radio program, where he talked about the book of Proverbs. He seemed to be a very soft-spoken and wise man, not surprising since he spent many years specializing in wisdom literature in the Bible. The message is at the following link:

Dr. Waltke quoted these lines from T.S. Eliot’s Choruses From the Rock:

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

I have heard the name T.S. Eliot, have known that he was enjoyed and respected, but I had not once read anything by him. These lines intrigued me, so I found what I thought was the complete poem online and very much enjoyed it.

This morning I gave it to Rob and suggested he read the first two verses, which had been my favorite. He read them aloud at the breakfast table and kept going because he enjoyed them so much, though he does not usually like poetry. This poetry reading inspired the boys to write some of their own. . .maybe not quite on the same level, but good for them. 🙂

We had some errands to run and I asked Rob if we could stop at the used bookstore on the way, so I could “just run in” to see if they had any Elizabeth Gaskell books, which my sister in law, Lydia, had recommended as being similar to and even better than Jane Austen. I have been reading Wives and Daughters on the computer, because our library doesn’t have it, but I HATE reading off the computer screen. I much prefer to curl up with a good book.

Rob let me go in alone, and it was delightful to have even 10 minutes to browse in the classics section all by myself! I found North and South and Mary Barton by E. Gaskell, so I got those, and I also picked up Don Quixote. As I was looking for more Gaskell books I noticed lying on the same shelf was a copy of Selected Poems by T.S. Eliot. I laughed because it had been misplaced by a customer, and I think God must have put it there for me.

I came out of the bookstore with a big smile on my face, and Rob commented to the children, “It is dangerous to let a Hoke alone in a used bookstore, and even more dangerous to let one in who is a Hoke and Tynan combination!”

Choruses From the Rock is in the Selected Poems, and I read through that on the way home–parts that had been unclear became clear in their context. It is kind of a poem play and I wonder if it has been acted out and recorded? Do any of you know? We enjoyed his thought provoking and witty sayings. One of my favorite:

And the wind shall say: ‘Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road and a thousand lost golf balls’.

I appreciate how he contrasts people being creative because we are made in God’s image with people who work and create in the “Church” of progress and humanism–men who don’t worship gods or God. All is vanity unless our lives are built by and for God.

The whole poem is good, with especially memorable lines interwoven. Our culture certainly hasn’t changed since he wrote it. I recommend it. I was not able to find an unabridged version online, so you will probably have to find it in a book instead, which is better anyway!


Author: Cassie

Follower of Jesus, wife and mom to the most wonderful family I could ever ask for.

One thought on “Where is the Life we have lost in living?

  1. Ryan would say the same about me in a bookstore. Now I want some TS Eliot! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing. Sounds like really good stuff. North & South…gotta love that one!

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