So here I am, in the middle way, having had
   twenty years -
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of
   l'entre deux guerres -
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind
   of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better
   of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or
   the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so
   each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what
   there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already
   been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom
   one cannot hope
To emulate - but there is no competition -
There is only the fight to recover
   what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now,
   under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither
   gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not
   our business.

--T. S. Eliot
East Coker
Four Quartets