As a poet Matthew Arnold (1822 – 1888) resonates deep within my soul. Brought up with his poetry such as the Scholar Gypsy I was honoured a few years ago when asked to read one of his poems at a dear friend’s funeral,(extract-The Evening Comes). Carrying on with my recent theme of sea poetry Dover Beach, the part below especially, has much to say about our present world, it is gloomy but the world is in need of such commentators even if they come from across the centuries.
The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-winds, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help with pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confus’d alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Best wishes for a peaceful tolerant world – Denny Bradbury
As a child I was told that the sea is powerful beyond human imagining and that any one who thought they could tame the sea would be subsumed by it. Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage has a wonderful expression of such power. Here is a glimpse:
From Childe Harold by Lord Byron
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean – roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin – his control
Stops with the shore; – upon thy watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He winks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelle’d, uncoffin’d, and unknown.
Very best wishes – Denny Bradbury
Alfred, Lord Tennyson – Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put put to sea,
But such a tide of moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Best wishes – Denny Bradbury