Sunday, 19 April 2015

Shores

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” 

Isaac Newton is meant to have said this but what his reasons were is unclear. He was not exactly a straightforwardly modest man. When we look at those vast expanses of grey or if you're lucky blue sea, what do you think?
 
 
 
As poets we should go beyond the everyday of Newton's solitary rambler, try and make it fresh. In his time the Victorian scholar Matthew Arnold did just that with his famous poem Dover Beach (available in lots of places). Looking for the fresh metaphor, the new way of seeing is what we're about, what he was doing.
 
For Arnold it was turbulent problems of faith which he linked to the tide's withdrawing roar. I think we should be on the lookout for such newness as we walk along our shores. Don't you?
 
Thank you for reading. David Riley
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1 comments:

Christo said...

Thanks for this, David - good basis for a natter on our way to Wenlock on Thursday morning.