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04-08-2011, 09:17 AM,
The Somerset village of East Coker, where T. S. Eliot is interred, is shortly going to be swamped by 3,750 new houses and an industrial estate. The plan is being pushed through by a Liberal Democrat councillor on the South Somerset Council who admits his ignorance of its cultural significance, adding "I don't like poetry" and "You may well personally hold that a dead poet's tomb is a national monument, and that the setting extends for miles around, but as I understand it Elliott (sic)only had a passing link with the village, being the family home rather than his chosen place of regular abode. He was so overwhelmed with East Coker that he mentioned it in a poem once."

If the council does not very soon feel a groundswell of opposition from those who appreciate the beauty and literary importance of the village, this scheme will be unstoppable. Please will you help us to prevent this by sending this appeal on to any of your friends who might also like to help? The East Coker Preservation Trust will be happy to provide any more information you need. It will be much appreciated if you feel able to write.
Thank you.

SANDRA SNELLING East Coker Preservation Trust.

In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,
Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,
And the deep lane insists on the direction
Into the village, in the electric heat
Hypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry light
Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.

In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie—
A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.

Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning. TS Eliot


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