“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.”
– Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot
I grew up in Singapore but have now spent more than half my life in the UK. When I go back to see my family, the place is simultaneously familiar and strange. I’ve learnt that the best way to appreciate things is to look at them not just as a visitor but like a child, valuing the wonder of it all.
This world is waiting for you to see it from ever-new perspectives and to keep discovering it, as if for the first time.
This is from one of my favourite poets, T.S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. It’s also one of my favourite-ever poems and if you Google it you can read the whole text.
The irony of Prufrock is that he is all let us go! let us go! but really he is his own patient ‘etherised upon a table’. We’re witnessing a consciousness that is destined to be at an eternal crossroads. He’s paralysed by indecisiveness and anxiety – so scared of making mistakes, trapped in eternal hesitation.
In short, he’s going nowhere because his mind is always anxiously dithering about probabilities and possibilities and he never arrives at any decision, never mind any action.
He probably dies in the end, by the way, surrounded by his genteel high society friends, having singularly failed to find any purpose in his life and any answers to his questions.
Well, that ended on a bit of a dour note. I bet you get the moral of the story, though.
– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd