Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
Burnt Norton is the first poem of T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. He created it while working on his play Murder in the Cathedral and it was first published in his Collected Poems 1909–1935 (1936). The poem’s title refers to a Cotswolds manor house Eliot visited, and the manor’s garden serves as an important image within the poem.
Structurally, the poem is based on Eliot’s The Waste Land with passages of the poem related to those excised from Murder in the Cathedral. The central discussion within the poem concerns the nature of time and salvation. Eliot emphasises the need of the individual to focus on the present moment and to know that there is a universal order. By understanding the nature of time and the order of the universe, mankind is able to recognise God and seek redemption.
[Text adapted from Wikipedia]
T. S. Eliot in 1934