The city orbits around eight million
centers of the universe
and turns around the golden clock
at the still point of this place.
Lift up your eyes from the moving hive
and you will see time circling
under a vault of stars and know
just when and where you are.
~Billy Collins “Grand Central”
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
~William Butler Yeats from “The Second Coming”
At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards;
at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Here is a place of disaffection
Time before and time after
In a dim light: neither daylight
Investing form with lucid stillness
Turning shadow into transient beauty
With slow rotation suggesting permanence
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plentitude nor vacancy.
~T.S. Eliot from “Burnt Norton” The Four Quartets
Millions orbiting the center or the center orbiting its millions:
we’ve been to Grand Central Station, a relaxed rest stop compared to the moving hive we navigated at Shinjuku Station and Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo, a city four times the size of New York.
Try as I might to picture train stations constituting a “center” holding the city together, I feel these works of man have only a tenuous hold on those who come and go. There is no glue; things fall apart.
The center only holds when it constitute the Source itself-
the origin, the beginning and the end and everything in between. Starting from there, no matter how far from the Center,
you have no doubt about where and when you are.