Tightrope walker Philippe Petit pauses for a moment 225 feet off the ground between the towers of Notre Dame on June 26, 1971. (AP Photo/Str/Cardenas)

Things Worth Remembering: The Solitary Lines That Stick

Sometimes a single sentence, buried like a gem in the hard grit of a poem, is all you need to keep in your head.

Welcome back to Douglas Murray’s Sunday column, Things Worth Remembering, where he presents passages from great poets he has committed to memory—and explains why you should, too. To listen to Douglas talk about about Seamus Heaney’s “The Gravel Walks,” click below: 

The first time I read T.S. Eliot’s line “So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing,” it hit me like a freight train. It felt as though, in that one line, Eliot was communicating a truth that will take me a lifetime to figure out.

There are lines from other poems that have that similar sticking power, even if the rest of the poem has little or no durability. For example, there is a very famous poem by Sir Thomas Wyatt, written in the 1530s, that plenty of people know, probably because of its devastating opening line: “They flee from me that sometime did me seek.”

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