in Literature

Costing not less than everything

I’m rather tired of every amateur scientist weighing in with his or her opinion of the Space Shuttle Columbia’s destruction or the entire space program, so I’m reluctant to do the same here. But tonight I walked onto the subway, sat down, and in front of my eyes was this passage from Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot that moved me enough that I must remember it…

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always –
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are infolded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.