Boxing Day, 2010.

I took my regular five o’clock walk at three o’clock on Christmas Eve.   It was going to become very, very cold any later than that and, besides, the sun was shining and I could enjoy the views properly as I walked.

One of my favourite views is looking to the West from the top of the Village Green, and a little beyond there, to the distant ridge a few miles away. Its moods change with the seasons, the weather and the time of day.

This afternoon, there was a pale-blue hazy look to the view.   Straightway, the phrase “blue remembered hills” leapt to mind.   I thought on the collection by A. E. Housman called “A Shropshire Lad”.   Every verse tells of a memory from long ago;  from times which even Housman would not remember.

And I said aloud “Housman, how you must have felt the agony as you wrote those verses”.

Not all the poems in the collection are Shropshire based.   Bredon Hill, for instance, is in Herefordshire.   But the world of which the poet wrote was that of a similar culture wherever one went in those times in rural England, certainly along the Welsh Marches.   Only the local accent and dialect words would be different.

I could not read serious poetry for many moons, even after I’d come out of my years of depression.   I still have to be careful, especially when what I read hits chords of sad memory in my heart.

Poets, composers, true artists of all kinds must have a hint of depression in their natures.

The snow coating the local scene will go;  the greening of Nature will come;  the hot Summer sun will cheer our spirits.   The memory of those “blue remembered hills” about which Housman wrote  – and which I have visited from time to time – will stay with me.

* * * * *

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4 Responses to Boxing Day, 2010.

  1. Karin Holloway says:

    I enjoyed Houseman as a child, not understanding what he was recalling but loving the flow of words. Even more, I loved Carl Sandburg, especially this one, “Joy”;
    LET a joy keep you.
    Reach out your hands
    And take it when it runs by,
    As the Apache dancer
    Clutches his woman.
    I have seen them
    Live long and laugh loud,
    Sent on singing, singing,
    Smashed to the heart
    Under the ribs
    With a terrible love.
    Joy always,
    Joy everywhere–
    Let joy kill you!
    Keep away from the little deaths.

    Happy New Year, Keith, to you and Rosie and P-dog, and to all your family!

    • Cornflake says:

      Thanks, luv. Your quote is lovely, especially “Smashed to the heart, Under the ribs, with a terrible love”. A poem to learn by heart.

  2. I smiled as I read this post. Sadly in South London there aren’t too many nice views that don’t include chimney tops or city smoke…
    I agree that true artists have a hint of depression in their natures, from sadness comes great beauty. This is the first post I’ve read of yours so will continue to read further!

    • Cornflake says:

      Thanks, Squirrel. I know of a fair few nice view in the London area, but not among the smoky chimneys. I was born and bred in Wolverhampton, so I understand what living in a big city is like. I hope you enjoy your reading of what I write – I seem to have created a handful of pages already!

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