Little Gidding is the fourth of Eliot's Four Quartets. It is nine sizeable, meaty pages long, and thus I will not put up the whole poem. You really should read the whole thing, though, because the sections might be strong enough to stand on their own, but taken as a unit they become so much stronger, and the symbols and signifiers (not to mention the poetics) become more intuitive and accessible when the movements resound together.
The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror.
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatous,
an easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
the formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light falls
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of the Calling
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 unkown, 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 in-folded
Into the crowned not of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.