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The Original "Getting Real"

The Original "Getting Real"
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Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Great Lover

Rupert Brooke, better known for his most famous poem "The Soldier", is one of my favourite poets of that era. Unlike Owen, who brought to light the horror of war, Brooke seemed to remain 'on the higher ground' even in the midst of the slaughter. Imagine writing something as beautiful as this while in the midst of the rat-infested trenches. What an amazingly beautiful description of the beauty that is to be found in the ordinary things of life...

These I have loved:
White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,
Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust;
Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust
Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;
Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood;
And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers;
And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours,
Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon;
Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon
Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss
Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is
Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen
Unpassioned beauty of a great machine;
The benison of hot water; furs to touch;
The good smell of old clothes; and other such
The comfortable smell of friendly fingers,
Hair's fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers
About dead leaves and last year's ferns...
Dear names,
And thousand other throng to me! Royal flames;
Sweet water's dimpling laugh from tap or spring;
Holes in the groud; and voices that do sing;
Voices in laughter, too; and body's pain,
Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train;
Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam
That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home;
And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold
Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mould;
Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew;
And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new;
And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass;
All these have been my loves.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

World Cup 2010

"Summer time and the living is easy...."

The World Cup has been such a lovely distraction from minor irritations in my life and it amuses me when people speak crossly about how much footballers are paid for their poor performances. Okay, England did really badly, despite our 'triumph of hope over experience' but at least for a little while we had something fun to latch on to. It's interesting that people here feel good when they can display the English flag without appearing to be a member of some nasty racist group; it's more interesting that the sun shines around the time of most World Cups, so people are already feeling good ad if FIFA planned it that way - balmy summers of football and feel-good-factors, they even outshone Simon Cowell's marketing! More fascinating is the way that the World Cup (every four years) coincides with warmer summers - isn't it clear how the mass consciousness creates the atmosphere in the country?

It's still 'bread and circuses' and we fall for it every time because we love it! We love being entertained and taken through the catharsis of angst, injustice, disappointment, hope, success; if we fail it's someone else's fault and if we win, we're all in it together...and when it is over, like watching a play at the theatre, we can feel drained and cleansed and step outside and say, "Oh, none of it was it's okay..." And, basically, it's fun.

The Germans, I thought, were the most entertaining and brilliant team in the whole tournament (even when they made England look like amateurs!) and the Dutch were pretty close in their entertainment value! Tomorrow night, I'd love the Netherlands to win but wish Spain well too!

The loveliest thing of all, though, is that this is the first World Cup I can ever remember where there has been no mention of the 'yob mentality' or fans causing trouble. South Africa has really set a standard for the rest of the world and raised international relations to a new level! Thank you!

Friday, 2 July 2010


The weather is beautiful and sometimes, no matter what appears to be happening in life, there are times when everything somehow shifts to a happier place, Walt Whitman's poem captures it all so perfectly! Trees have immense power - they withstand storms and changes; the older they grow, the more beautiful they become. Young saplings are frequently blown over by storms but the old trees are so wise and emit such beautiful strength and loveliness...especially at this time of year when everything is so green and so beautiful:

As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the
Or stand under trees in the woods...