Sunday, April 29, 2012

To be At One with the World

To be At One with the World
(the secret of life - harmony)

we, who are many, are one body for we all share in the one life
(1 Corinthians 10:17)

the world is one enormous thing
far beyond our own imagining
each one of us - a unique soul
integrated in the bigger whole

in our life we come and go
like an electromagnetic 'dynamo'
we radiate our own precious charge
hopefully a bright light - not a dark discharge

but if a virus suddenly descends
it’s up to us to make amends
remembering that love created every cell
and that this love can keep us well

for we have the power in each of us
to reverse negative currents and make them a plus!

Richard Scutter 15 April 2012

A sonnet written for Heather Powell reflecting on aspects from the initial sessions of her U3A course 'The Old and The New' ... looking at changes in thinking in relation to many disciplines including  Health, Religion, Philosophy and the Sciences.

Some word definitions ...

Integral - necessary to the completeness of the whole. …. made up of parts which together constitute a whole.
Electromagnetic interaction - the fundamental interaction occurring between electrically charged elementary particles.
Dynamo - any rotating machine in which mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy, especially a direct current generator. Note that this word can be used to define a dynamic person.
Virus - an infective agent; in a restricted sense, an infective agent smaller than a common micro-organism, and requiring living cells for multiplication
DischargeElectricity - to lose, or give up, a charge of electricity.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lest We Forget - and Kipling's Recessional


ANZAC dawn bleeding
Australians remembered
today and every day
 Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Three words forged into the mind when we consider war. Perhaps originating in use from Kipling's poem - Recessional (= text for use at the end of a service as clergy retire) ... written in 1897 to mark the 60 years of Queen Victoria's reign ... a prayer to be humble before the Lord ...


God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of the far flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine -
Lord god of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Ninevah and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law-
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word-
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Rudyard Kipling (b Bombay India in 1865 ... died London 1936)

Two contrasting quotes on Kipling ...

His popularity was due to political reasons, and ... he retains his authority over the hordes because he is the bard of their prejudices and their clayey ideals. (Arnold Bennet 1909)

Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known' ... Henry James

Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907 (the first and youngest ever English writer).

He declined the Poet Laureate and a Knighthood.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Zero Summer and T. S. Eliot (Little Gidding)

The Four Quartets text is difficult to understand. I recommend the  following site that links TSE concepts to Maharishi Vedic Science.

This site has a thorough analysis of all the Four Quartets.

Looking at Little Gidding and the concept of a Zero Summer… (Little Gidding text is highlighted in bold in the following text taken from the above site)

Little Gidding

Little Gidding ranks with Burnt Norton as the best of the Four Quartets. It has a wider philosophical scope than East Coker and The Dry Salvages, and is more personal and concrete than Burnt Norton. Written primarily in the first half of 1941, the poem was both aided and hindered by the German air raids on London. The ubiquitous sight of fire and ash, the nightly terror of sirens and explosions, the constant presence of death and demolition, creates a visceral immediacy in Little Gidding missing in the other Quartets even though such horrors are presented indirectly and symbolically. The air raids, on the other hand, were less beneficial for Eliot's work habits, causing him to write the poem's first draft quickly and superficially. Writing about the timeless, he constantly felt the pressure of time, the futureless future: "Like everyone else in this period, his life became one of monotony and anxiety, caught in a middle period when pre-war life seemed unreal and post-war life unimaginable" (Ackroyd, 1984, p. 264).

In spite of his personal anguish, or any doubt he originally had about the quality of Little Gidding, the poem begins with amazing surety and affirmation. Burnt Norton had posed the problem of time; East Coker and The Dry Salvages elaborated on time's character; but Little Gidding redeems it and in so doing presents Eliot's most definitive spiritual vision.

The poem's first two words, "Midwinter spring," metaphorically suggest its vitality and direction. The phrase is not only the kind of mind-challenging paradox that Eliot relished; but in context it envisions an end to the air raids, a peace in the heart of war, heaven amidst the inferno, an interruption to what had become life's status quo-suffering as usual. This unlooked-for spring "is its own season / Sempiternal . . . Suspended in time." Not a common annual season, it is a new eternal season of its own making, existing in a time that never existed, reconciling and unifying sets of opposites, "pole and tropic . . . When the short day is brightest."

The opposing forces "frost and fire" literally represent the seasons winter and summer and characterize the harsh weather that defines them. Metaphorically they are the polarized means by which the eternal spring comes into being. The fire of war is calmed by the frost of winter, and the holy fire "that is the heart's heat," in contrast to the fire of desire (symbolized by leaping through the flames in East Coker), melts the congealed emotions and awakens the dormant inner life. The sun shining on the pond on the shortest day of the year generates a blinding light that "Stirs the dumb spirit." The "[s]oul's sap" that had long been frozen "quivers" and begins to flow. This is a celestial spring "not in time's covenant," devoid of the taint of earthly existence.

The opening stanza concludes with the question answered in the rest of the poem: "Where is the summer, the unimaginable / Zero summer?" Summer is fullness, more than spring, and the zero summer is brought about by a fusion of winter and summer-the hedgerow blooming more suddenly from a temporary snowfall-a summer that is "neither budding nor fading." It is an "unimaginable" summer because suffering and the horrors of war have made it so, but also a zero summer because it transcends human imagination. It is the full ripeness of spiritual awakening that the poet longs for, a summer that exceeds the still point and the midwinter spring, embracing all life and all things in the warmth of eternity.

The Zero Summer Concept is discussed … The zero summer is for Eliot analogous to the ancient concept of paradise on earth, a period of peace and abundance, a period that has long been chronicled in the history of literature as Plato's Republic, More's Utopia, Shakespeare's Arden Forest, the many versions of Camelot, and Morris's The Earthly Paradise to name a few.
Little Gidding describes the path to the zero summer in language reminiscent of East Coker ("To arrive where you are, to get where you are not, / You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy"):
If you came this way / Taking any route, starting from anywhere, / At any time or at any season, / It would always be the same.

A spiritual pilgrim traveling this route to the midwinter spring would find the "voluptuary sweetness" of May, "the same at the end of the journey," and a meaning that fulfills and exceeds the original purpose. The journey begins at any time and from any place that is the "world's end," for Eliot "Now and England." It is the end of the world because the war has made it so, but every place is the end just as every place is the beginning. That is what distinguishes the still point from the point in time.

 To get there one must "leave the rough road," and "put off / Sense and notion." The coarseness of ordinary desires must be abandoned, and the route taken cannot be one of ideas or even rational thinking. Eliot says the route to the zero summer is through prayer, but for him "prayer is more / Than an order of words," more than the act or sound of praying; it is a means of transcendence to "the intersection of the timeless moment [that] / Is England and nowhere. Never and always."
My comment on Zero Summer ...
Zero Summer is a case of describing the impossible or an absolute so it is rather difficult ... to say the least. How do you describe Heaven. Perhaps easier to describe Hell. The important thing is the journey ... to work to create 'Heaven on Earth' and to be inclusive ... to leave the world in a better state ... and if you believe in Christ, Pentecost and Prayer to work with such remarkable powers to achieve this end.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Life - Shockingly Beautiful - Easter Sunday

Celebration of LIFE ... shockingly beautiful.

Easter - the marriage of humanity and divinity through Jesus based on unconditional love.
... love does not alter when alteration finds ... Shakespeare Sonnet 116

Easter Sunday
pure gold in blue sky
beauty of this risen day
touches all creation
Footnote ...
I change the title of this poem to I let your beauty depending on the secular/non-secular audience.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Shell on Shelley and The Moon

Some detail I found of interest on Shelley (based in part on the The Young Shelley – Phillip Rush) …

He was born into a very wealthy family (Field Place, Warnham village, near Horsham, Sussex). He had an assured income. His grandfather left him 1,000-pound p.a.

He had a prodigious memory and before he attended school was able to recite poetry after only one reading impressing a family gathering after being put to the test with a recital of Thomas Gray’s  ‘Ode to a favourite cat drowned in a tub of goldfish’. Poetry was in his blood all his life.

When a young boy his grandfather invited him out to lunch at a local pub. His money-land oriented grandfather started to speak unkindly of his father saying he was bumbling and well meaning but would get nowhere. His grandson stood up defending his father drawing attention from others in the pub.

He rebelled against the public school ‘fagging’ and was sent down from Oxford after the co-author writing of the paper ‘The Necessity of Atheism’.  His passion and enthusiasm reflected in sending copy to ‘every bishop on the bench, to the Chancellor of the University and to every college Master, Warden and Dean’.

He stood out against tradition always willing to speak his mind whatever the cost. He worked out his own philosophy. He had great strength and integrity in following what was right for him. Not surprisingly going against the expectations of family both in career and in his relationships (running away with the 16 year old Harriet Westbrook).

He was very generous and supportive of friends especially Leigh Hunt when Hunt was put in prison for libeling the Prince Regent. He was politically active in Ireland and England.

He was one of the so-called  ‘famous regency poets’ (Byron, Keats) escaping the restrictive environment in England after the Napoleonic wars for a life in Italy. He died tragically in a boating accident at the age of 29 and like Keats and Byron at an early age.

 He was cremated on the beach at Viareggio … in the line of a Greek hero … his heart remained and was taken away by friends … however; it may not have been his heart but his liver. This would be a poetic ending given that his most important work was Prometheus Unbound. The bound Prometheus had his liver attacked by vultures.

His most known poems are perhaps Ode to the West Wind and Ozymandias.

He wrote a paper in defence of poetry and he was very appreciative of the ‘poetic cannon’ especially praising Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost.

The moon features in his work … including Prometheus Unbound … have a look at the imagery conjured by these two fragments put together after his death …

 And, like a dying lady lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapp'd in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose up in the murky east
A white and shapeless mass.
 Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

For more details here is the Wikipedia link …