6 March 2021

You are still kind....

Let it go....

It is a great thing to have friends. Friends bring wealth in their extended network of experience beyond our own.

A friend of mine had the fortune to be taught by William Empson, at the University of Sheffield. Empson had his 'foibles', shall we say?  One moment he could be in the lecture theatre fumbling with his copy of King Lear, before mumbling, Well what can one say about King Lear? and leaving the stage.  Another moment he could be in the Star and Garter, decorating the bar with a technicolour yawn.

I interpose a picture of a male Stonechat, just to clear the air.....

To return, refreshed, to my theme....  I never encountered the aforesaid Empson, but through my friend I live in his shadow.  Just recently, when recounting the effects of aggressive chemotherapy, he reminded me of the Professor's poetry, in particular indicating his translation of the Buddha's Fire Sermon as introduction to his Collected Poems..... (See below for Land Art, on Courtyard Farm, Ringstead, nothing to do with the Fire Sermon, except that......)

As everyone understands, these are unusual times.  Everyone has their particular difficulties - whether it is isolation and loneliness, or the weight of coping with poverty and children, or the agony of fatal disease....

And there is no guarantee that things will get better for everyone.....

Once upon a time a person could rely upon their church, such as this lovely building in Ringstead:

With its quiet Madonna and child contemplating an unusually large glass of patent remedy....

Though nowadays things are not so straightforward.  Here a Knot seems to chase a Ringed Plover...... Why?

And here a stew of Oystercatchers seem relatively unmoved by the furious flight of a tangle of Knot.....

Each to his own.

Let it go


It is this deep blankness is the real thing strange.

The more things happen to you the more you can’t

Tell or remember even what they were.


The contradictions cover such a range.

The talk would talk and go so far aslant.

You don’t want madhouse and the whole thing there.

William Empson

Across the Wash murmurations of waders blur into the greyness:

While above Dersingham Bog I spy four buzzards in courtship (though here you can only distinguish two as dots.....)

It is the pain, it is the pain endures. 

Your chemic beauty burned my muscles through. 

Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

Overhead a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor burns money as if it has no meaning, decimating peace both here and beyond....

The infection slept (custom or changes inures) 

And when pain’s secondary phase was due 

Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

And Amanda and I walk quietly through the woods of Wild Ken Hill:

And walk until the muddy waters become impassable.....

My stare drank deep beauty that still allures. 

My heart pumps yet the poison draught of you. 

Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

As I keep telling myself, we all have our crosses to bear.  There will always be someone whose suffering is worse than mine.....  But what does that tell us?  Dukkha, the noble truth of suffering, afflicts us all, unless we achieve Nirvana.....  And to reach that is not a stroll on the beach.....

And while there are signposts on the way,

The way can be long, and lonely, and empty......

And confused......

You are still kind whom the same shape immures. 

Kind and beyond adieu. We miss our cue. 

It is the pain, it is the pain endures. 

Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.


Missing Dates

William Empson

When he is free he knows that he is free, that rebirth is at an end, that virtue is accomplished, that duty is done, and that there is no more returning to this world; thus he knows.

William Empson
The Fire Sermon

From Aubade

But as to risings, I can tell you why.

It is on contradiction that they grow.

It seemed the best thing to be up and go.

Up was the heartening and strong reply.

The heart of standing is we cannot fly.

William Empson

1 comment:

  1. As ever, your photographs are lovely, intelligent and inspiring, as are your words -- thank you! (signed) Judith Harris