30 August 2019

Shropshire; Oh Mercy.....

Most of the Time....

Most of the time

I’m clear focused all around
Most of the time
I can keep both feet on the ground
I can follow the path, I can read the signs
Stay right with it when the road unwinds
I can handle whatever I stumble upon 
I don’t even notice she’s gone

Most of the time 

Up on Offa's Dyke (Hey, You! Get Offa my Dyke...!) it's not hard to forget, for a moment, the things you should remember. 

I am blessed by fine weather on a day in Shropshire, and I climb to the heights where Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Offa organised a ditch and earth wall to form a hard border between his eight century kingdom (Mercia) and Wales..... Oh Mercy.

In Offa’s Dyke: Landscape and Hegemony in Eighth-Century Britain, Keith Ray and Ian Bapty explore how the Dyke may have been built and what it achieved, and consider what can be learned from it.

Besides being built to impress, the Dyke was also designed to exclude the Welsh from their former lands and was probably used as a means to raise revenue by customs control and to monitor what was going on in the area immediately to its west. 

Nope. Doesn't remind me of anything.... Hard border. Customs control..... Nope.....

In c895 AD Bishop Asser [biographer of King Alfred] with the benefit of hindsight.... saw Offa’s Dyke fundamentally as a vainglorious exercise by an unscrupulous and ruthless king..... 

Nope. Can't think of any contemporary who might be thought of as vainglorious, unscrupulous, or ruthless.... Nor any man who would be king....

So it's just another day when I free myself and wander in cloud loneliness, skipping like a girlie, crying Hullo trees! Hullo sky! and I can wrap myself in blue dismembered hills.....

Most of the time
It’s well understood 
Most of the time 
I wouldn’t change it if I could 
I can make it all match up, I can hold my own 
I can deal with the situation right down to the bone 
I can survive, I can endure 
And I don’t even think about her 

Most of the time

Yes. Most of the time any of us can manage our daily needs, and life goes on. Such incidentals as birth and death mere bookends to our feeding and growing, and growing old, and incidentally socialising.....

A road is just a road, whoever travels along it....

A signpost means little to a stranger, and less to a passing fox, but it will stand, pointing, as placed, until some idiot rearranges it.....

And a closed door is still a closed door. But still a door. Which need not remain closed.

And an inn is still an inn, even when closed. Until the law is changed, and the designation is redesigned. By law. 

It is a beautiful day, and I move on up to the Bury Ditches, an Iron Age multivallate hill fort above the village of Clun. The lower slopes are forested, and green,

Though there are seductive angels by the wayside; messages from the destroyers of memory, the disease of conceit.....

But above the trees, on the ridges, the palette is different,

And I am blessed with pale views of hills....

What are these blue remembered hills
What spires, what farms are those?

(A E Housman)

[Answer: The Long Mynd, the Stiperstones]

Most of the time

My head is on straight
Most of the time
I’m strong enough not to hate
I don’t build up illusion ’til it makes me sick
I ain’t afraid of confusion no matter how thick
I can smile in the face of mankind
Don’t even remember what her lips felt like on mine

Most of the time

I move on down to Craven Arms, and to Stokesay Castle.

House Martins career past the windows:

Rest on the battlements:

Preparing their tiny selves for unknown, instinctive journeys; thousands of miles to equatorial climes; no passports, no questions, just strength of will without understanding....

Though on their way they may sing:

Most of the time
 I’m halfway content
 Most of the time
 I know exactly where it went
 I don’t cheat on myself, I don’t run and hide
 Hide from the feelings that are buried inside
 I don’t compromise and I don’t pretend
 I don’t even care if I ever see her again

 Most of the time

Dylan's words - wherever he garnered them from - lend themselves to any interpretation.  My play here is on the idea of taking time out to refresh my mind in the pleasures of free landscapes, taking a break from the tribulations of my family life (Most of the time/I’m halfway content.....) But on interacting with the ancient past I find that we can be brought to face our present.  The present, however, does not then encompass just our own personal circumstances, however difficult, but also the public, political circumstances which may be even more daunting.  But then, above and beyond this, these can pale into insignificance when we realise that the world of small things (for example juvenile house martins) may be way more challenging than anything we (or should I say I?) have to face from day to day.....

I can survive, I can endure 
And I don’t even think about her 

Most of the time

Oh Mercy!

Thank you to:

Most of the Time

Bob Dylan

Copyright © 1989 by Special Rider Music

1 comment:

  1. I walked the Dyke some 45 years ago Your wonderful photos and words bring back lovely memories....