Excerpt Thursday – Ash Wednesday – Eliot

Although Ash Wednesday has passed, we are still in the midst of the major spring religious holidays, with Orthodox Easter and Passover yet to come. Thus this heavily allusion laden and symbolic T.S. Eliot poem, which is widely summarized as describing the struggle between disbelief and faith, can still be considered timely. This poem was the first major piece written after Eliot’s official conversion to Anglicanism in 1927 and it marks a definite change in his poetry, evidence perhaps of the change that was wrought in him by his newfound faith. You can read the entire poem here, although I think it is even better to listen to Eliot read the poem himself (click here!). For a much more psycho-analytical/biographical take on the poem, The Guardian featured an article on it in 2014 – you can find that here.

Due to a schedule conflict, this is the first “Excerpt Thursday” I have done – after this week, I hope to have this type of post come back to rest on Wednesdays. Photograph and composition by me. Have a great rest of your week!


  1. I think Eliot would appreciate this artistic treatment of “Ash Wednesday,” given his concern with what might be considered traditionally ‘domestic’ things in some of his poetry–the pattern in the carpet and the coffee spoons measuring out Prufrock’s life spring instantly to mind. Great excerpt and photo!


    1. Thank you so much! I love how he always calls out those small domestic details and these ordinary things become the sites of such intense dramas – “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons” is one of my favorite lines in all of poetry, one I have said to myself in a frustrated or stymied moment on more than one occasion.

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    1. It is my pleasure! I’ve been familiar with this poem for a long time, but this was the first time I had looked for and found a recording of Eliot reading it – and it was such a revelation for me!

      Liked by 1 person

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