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/ This is the dead of the earth” (Eliot 2). However, the speaker understands that the mistakes made in life come from being human and that in order to be redeemed one must sin. Sin comes from human desire and in order to find redemption one must learn to be liberated from desire by developing a higher form of love. This is the only path to redemption and the only way to be free from the shackles of the future (death) and the shackles of the past (memories our sins and our joys):

There are three conditions which often look alike

Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:

Attachment to the self and to things and to persons, detachment

From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference

Which resembles the others as death resembles life,

Being between two lives—unflowering, between

The live and the dead nettle. This is the use of memory:

For liberation – not less of love but expanding

Of love beyond desire, and so liberation

From the future as well as the past.

In Asphodel, That Greeny Flower, sin is also a prerequisite to redemption. In Williams’ poem, it is art that has redemptive power. Asphodel, a greeny flower, is the symbol for the speaker’s artlessness and endurance. Love is closest to art because to Williams’ speaker love and the imagination add up to a wholeness, a oneness, “swift as the light / to av


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ELIOT AND WILLIAMS. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:34, October 25, 2014, from
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