Thursday, November 04, 2004

Splendour, Splendour Everywhere

What a beautiful day. The sun shining, trees in their autumn plumage, woodsmoke in the keen air.

And the Daily Mirror's "How Could You", the Indie's black-bordered front page, the solemn, mournful music on all BBC channels, broadcasting having been suspended for three days. For the first time since the Dunkirk evacuation of 1940, Archbishop Rowan Williams is arranging a Service of Intercession at Westminster Abbey, begging God's aid in our hour of grief, distress and need.

A Christian should not gloat. But we are all sinners who fall short of grace.

A samizdata commentator mentioned the stony faces of BBC staff in Washington yesterday. In the Black Country they have an appropriate phase for such a facial expression :

"like a bulldog licking p*** off a nettle"

Still to come - the pleasures of the Guardian and BBC talkboards, urban75, the New Statesman. Is this what Abram Maslow called a 'Peak Experience' ? Haven't felt like this since May 2nd, 1997, but that's another story.

I whistle the 'Star Spangled Banner', the car resounds with Hayseed Dixie, Bob Wills and the Sons of the Pioneers.

This poem captures the feeling.

Seaside Golf

How straight it flew, how long it flew,
It clear'd the rutty track,
And soaring, disappeared from view
Beyond the bunker's back -
A glorious sailing bounding drive
That made me glad I was alive.

And down the fairway, far along
It glowed a lonely white;
I played an iron sure and strong
And clipp'd it out of sight,
And spite of grassy banks between
I knew I'd find it on the green.

And so I did. It lay content
Two paces from the pin;
A steady putt and then it went
Oh, most securely in.
The very turf rejoiced to see
That quite unprecedented three.

Ah! seaweed smells from sandy caves
And thyme and mist in whiffs,
In-coming tide, Atlantic waves
Slapping the sunny cliffs,
Lark song and sea sounds in the air
And splendour, splendour everywhere.

John Betjeman

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