Shetland with T.S. Eliot

Bigton, Shetland

April is National Poetry Month! I am celebrating by looking back at photo memories and connecting them to poems that have enlightened my journey. T.S. Eliot’s poem, Wait Without Hope, came to me when I faced a transition and choices. The idea of waiting, listening, reflecting is very much the essence of this poem. “Faith, love, hope” are waiting, but I must be ready, my heart prepared, to embrace these gifts.

As a global community, we have entered a time of reflection, of waiting, of listening. Tonight, join me in reading the poem, Wait Without Hope. Imagine you are walking the beaches of Shetland, with the sound of the ocean in you ear and the tug of the brisk wind going through your hair.

Bigton, Shetland

Wait Without Hope

By: T. S Eliot

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

T. S. Eliot, East Coker

Bigton, Shetland

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri on September 26, 1888. When he was 25, he emigrated to England, married and became a British subject in 1927.

T.S. Eliot is considered one of the twentieth century’s major poets. In his childhood, literature became his solace, a place to find adventures (ie Tom Sawyer) and companionship. A congenital double inguinal hernia prevented him from participating in physical activities and socializing with his peer group. He learned to live within solitude at a young age which, I believe, was to influence his poetry and and writings in later life.

9 Comments »

  1. Thank you for reading the poem, I enjoy hearing you. Your video to go with it is so lovely, as well. The poet seems to be waiting to experience more in life, the real life, perhaps. His frailties and times of silence and reflection perhaps gives the added depth to his words. I would love to see Shetland, it must be beautiful! !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would love to go back to Shetland, but that must wait for the time being. What I find most exciting about photos is that they allow us to go back in time. T.S. Eliot had an interesting life. Over the years, experts have dissected his poetry and have given lofty interpretations. I would rather just experience the words first hand, without the layers of the opinions of others.

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  2. Stunning photography and video, Rebecca! It looks like the top of the world, and it feels strangely familiar to me. Eliot’s waiting for the real birth of faith, hope, love, and thought, when it seems lost to us, is especially profound at this time. He wrote somewhere that poems should be universal and not tied to a particular place and time, for they’d become outdated or irrelevant. He captures that philosophy perfectly with this poem. Simply lovely.

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    • I am so glad you enjoyed this post. We travelled to Shetland in 2018, which came about after we watched the series “Shetland” which is based on a the novels of Ann Cleeves. The landscape that was shown in the series was powerful and I knew that this was our next adventure. Shetland is remarkable – a subarctic archipelago full of history from ancient times . It was formerly call Zetland. One day, I would love to return. One of my favourite T.S. Eliot thoughts is: “Do I dare disturb the universe.”

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  3. What a perfect combination – the poem, the images and your beautiful voice – wonderful! Shetland remains high, perhaps the highest, on our list of Scottish islands still to visit. We’ll be back on Orkney next year, but I am hoping to visit Shetland in the near-ish future. I love the idea of venturing ever further north. Xxx

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    • You will love Shetland. I thought that the landscape of Shetland would be similar to Orkney, but there are many differences. The craft tours are amazing and of course, you will see the places where the Shetland series is filmed. Everyone we met seemed to be in the films. Venturing ever further north would be exciting. I would love to visit the Faroe Islands which are part of the Kingdom of Denmark. There are 18 rocky volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways and bridges. Now that would be an adventure!!!!

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