Taken from a line in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, this project is a homage to water. Eliot’s masterpiece has long inspired me since I was a young teenager. A frenetic world made silent, yet, when stillness approaches, ‘there the dance is’. Much as water is tumultuous, vigorous and dynamic, its capacity for profound stillness is at once expansive and comforting.
A synchronicity with ideas of ‘the still point’ later emerged with a convergence of this poem and my studies in music. I met the composer Micheál O’Súilleabháin a number of times in the 90s and got to know his work. His 1992 album, Gaiseadh, contained a piece titled At the Still Point of the Turning World. O’Súilleabháin also referenced Eliot in this painfully beautiful work. Written for piano, tanpura and surpeti, the piece evokes a gentle tumult, before sonically representing the idea of stillness in a most sublime way.
I cannot begin to do justice to Eliot or O’Súilleabháin, but I can offer a gentle interpretation of the still point.