Time and the bell have buried the day,
The black cloud carries the sun away.
Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis
Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray
Clutch and cling?
Fingers of yew be curled
Down on us? After the kingfisher's wing
Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still
At the still point of the turning world.
--T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
Eliot has led us downward through the way of purgation, the way of loss and emptiness. First we are stripped of the senses ("Desiccation of the world of sense"), then of imagination and the mind ("Evacuation of the world of fancy"), and finally even of spirit ("Inoperancy of the world of spirit"). Every pretension must be relinquished. This is the way of humility, ever down and down, for only thus may we ascend to the heights.
It takes little imagination to realize that time and the bell have buried more than the day. We come to the ultimate humility, joined to the earthy soil (humus in Latin, the root of humble and human), dead to all things. The black cloud of death carries the sun away from us forever. Our companions are now the graveyard yews, the sunflower and the clematis vine. Will these take note? Turn to us? Cling to us? Curl down for us? A flash of light off a kingfisher's wing and then silence... stillness. The world turns around us but we lie motionless now.
And find ourselves at the still point of the turning world, the place where Light dwells in the darkness.
We are promised that if we lose our life for the sake of the Word, we shall gain our life. The call of the Crucified One is to come and die with him. Our typical reaction is to recoil in horror and fear. But when we see the look on his face we are reassured the we shall find Life.