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Burnt-out Ends

Updated for technical reasons Saturday 21st April 2012 as part of major site restructuring.

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The title is taken from that lovely line of T S Eliot's in 'Preludes' I:
'The burnt-out ends of smoky days.' 

Kyle of Lochalsh
A tale's told by every loch and isle,
And every wave that laps against the shore:
A thousand moods are caught with every sigh
Of breeze on which the seagulls wheel and soar.

From rugged hills that climb towards the sky,
To rhododendron forests, tumbling to the shore,
Everything is calling to me, 'pause awhile,
For we have much to tell you, so much more'.

The thread that runs through all the tales they weave—
A silver thread that runs through life itself—
Makes no demands, nor asks that you believe,
But for a moment, be . . . and know thyself'.

Peter Such Gone Fishing!
ISBN 1-8728270-4 Published by Hazelwood (Publishers) Ltd £5.95
Available from the author direct post free at
P.O. Box 421, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire HP4 1SZ England

Student Days
With trials and tribulations besetting the country for the last several months: storms, floods, floods again, storms, major rail disasters—Paddington, Hatfield, Great Heck—and Foot and Mouth disease it is difficult to be upbeat.
          This morning (Monday 5th March 2001) the sun shines brightly. I had spent the weekend at Brighton, which I know well and therefore was not so outstanding a break as might otherwise have been the case. The weather was bitterly cold, but then I was attending a publishers' conference, so I was confined indoors most of the time, so it did not matter.
          Had it been the other way round, I might have berated the weather for choosing to be fine when cooped up indoors, but that is how it is today although today it is the discipline of self that keeps me bound within. 
         I am a student again and summer weather beckons me outdoors where I never found study easy, perhaps because of the brightness of the sun reflecting off the page and too many distractions but probably because I am one of those cursed with hay-fever. To this day I do not understand how anyone can concentrate on study with hubbub of any sort, let alone music deliberately playing.
         
I remember a Prep school summer day, walking in crocodile to the nearest woods for a botany lesson and another such day sprawled on the lawn whilst others were doing arithmetic or English, History or Geography. We were doing art that morning and trying to draw the trees around in their full blossom of pink hawthorn, in which I delighted in the exuberant use of pink chalk. 
          Today is early March, suddenly warm for the year and law study binds me indoors, for I have embarked upon a law degree. The whys and wherefores are not relevant here and perhaps Ashridge would beckon more urgently were it not for Foot and Mouth disease that prevents me from wandering the countryside where deer roam
         
Another summer memory, in three thatched class rooms originally intended as a cricket pavilion, where the doors are flung wide open and the windows likewise, looking across to where the tennis courts once were but in place of them stands the 'science block', carefully named 'Newcroft' (Newton and Sir John Cockroft) to prevent it (most successfully) from being referred to as the 'science block'.
         
Then I was doing English and most appropriately that poem by Henry Reed with which I felt a sudden affinity and recall again with intense pleasure. From 'Lessons of the War: 1, The Naming of Parts'. It was the way the poem reflected so well the need for concentration on the seemingly irrelevant when so much was beckoning of the real world outside, like the 'Japonica [that] glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens, and today we have naming of parts'. 
          Today, I have naming the legal parts of a case, and the sun shines brightly through the open window, glinting upon the snowdrops, encouraging the daffodils to open their trumpets and proclaim the glory of a new Spring.
         
What ever our private, or national, trials and tribulations, there can only ever be one certainty, the moment in which we are at any time and there usually remains much for which to be grateful.
           Thank you, Universal Spirit, for my sudden awareness and that extraordinary juxtaposition of time that Eliot expressed so well in Four Quartets, 'Burnt Norton', 'Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future and time future contained in time past'. 
Taken from 'Weekly Commentary', archived in March 2001.

This Evening's Prayer
Sunset, gold to crimson pink turning to fuchsia red;
A child homewards on her bike;
Smell of damp earth... and the misty chill
of the rugger field when the players have left;

Conkers split open and cacophony of ducks
                                                   on the canal;

Hot coffee, toasted crumpets with oodles of butter (bad for your heart!)
And the Charlotte Church CD Pie Jesu:

Thank you, Universal Spirit, for the eyes to see, the ears to hear . . . and the awareness to know.

Peter Such, 1999

'For all times
To see a world in a grain of sand

And a Heaven in a wild flower:
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.'

William Blake Auguries of Innocence

 

Following the devastation on New York (11th September 2001)'It is the mosquito which should give concern, not the flocking of vultures.'

Peter Such, 2001

© Peter Such 2002—2012, except quotations cited, which are assumed to be the copyright of the authors stated, or their estates, and which are quoted in the belief that such quotation meets the requirements of fair presentation, critique or discussion.