William Wordsworth

I went out blackberrying today.
A westerly wind hummed and hawed
Amid the blackthorn and the nettles
Where brambles grew aplenty.
My September delight on southern hedges
Ripe with sloes and long-eared grasses
To pick most carefully brambles black and round.

The wind, my companion ushered the sounds
Of rolling waves from the shore below
While gulls and crows called and cawed
To partners and their pals.
O! to be out under the troubled sky
Of blues and blacks, of whites and greys
Amid the swords of sunshine and my punnet full.

Thanks to a fellow Participant (Alathea Anderssohn) I noticed a poem by Wilfred Owen:

Futility

Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved,—still warm,—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

And her comparison to Wordworth’s opening lines of The Prelude: Book 1: Childhood and School-time.

—Was it for this
That one, the fairest of all Rivers, lov’d
To blend his murmurs with my Nurse’s song,
And from his alder shades and rocky falls,
And from his fords and shallows, sent a voice
That flow’d along my dreams?

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A most disturbing image – a dead child on a Turkish beach

We are used to beaches being happy places, sandy havens of fun amid gentle waves on hot sunny days, places where children play with sand and spades and splash in the sea.

Not so on a Turkish beach last week as a dead Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, aged just three, lay face down on the wet sand at the water’s edge. In another picture a grim faced policeman in a green beret and short sleeved khaki shirt carried the little bundle gently, carefully, as if it were alive to his final sanctuary.

So sad, so moving.

We are all humans, even David Cameron changed his policy on refugees as a result, a small gesture to the tragic image.

It got me to thinking about The Power of Pictures and Words

Yet even better is Brian Smith’s (SEH 1965) contribution in the form of a Christmas carol, sung to the  Kirkpatrick’s 1895 tune for “Away in a manger”.

Away from his mother , just stones for his bed
The three -year-old Aylan lies on a beach, dead.
The stars in the bright sky look down where he lies
A drowned refugee boy attracting the flies.

A camera is waiting , the media awake:
This poor little Syrian no percentage will take.
A scoop for the papers, more drama for Sky —
They’ll stay by his side till the deadline is nigh.

Remember his family. I ask you to keep
Their pain in your memory whenever you weep.
Bless all these dear children in our tender care
And bring them to Europe to live with us here.