Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And gorse runs riot in Glen Chass—thank God!

I'm going home, yes, back to the Island via Suffolk. I'll be back at my computer sometime on the 8th. I'm not taking my laptop -- this is not a working trip -- but I'll try and post from my friends' computers. Don't miss me too much!

The quote is from T.E. Brown's poem "Clifton". Although he worked there a long time he missed the Island and wrote this poem around the same time as his classic, "Betsy Lee". Clifton is a boys' boarding school near Bristol where Brown was a housemaster and teacher..

I’m here at Clifton, grinding at the mill
My feet for thrice nine barren years have trod;
But there are rocks and waves at Scarlett still,
And gorse runs riot in Glen Chass—thank God!

Alert, I seek exactitude of rule,
I step, and square my shoulders with the squad;
But there are blaeberries on old Barrule,
And Langness has its heather still—thank God!

There is no silence here : the truculent quack
Insists with acrid shriek my ears to prod,
And, if I stop them, fumes ; but there’s no lack
Of silence still on Carraghyn—thank God!

Pragmatic fibs surround my soul, and bate it
With measured phrase, that asks the assenting nod;
I rise, and say the bitter thing, and hate it—
But Wordsworth’s castle’s still at Peel—thank God!

O broken life ! O wretched bits of being,
Unrhythrnic, patched, the even and the odd!
But Bradda still has lichens worth the seeing,
And thunder in her caves—thank God ! thank God!

1 comment:

Manxgrandpa said...

"When gorse is out of bloom
Kissing's out of season."


Throughout the year, there's always somewhere where at least a small sprig of gorse is in flower.

There are two varieties of gorse in the Island: the small more golden one - which is the native Manx one; and the English one which is bigger, more yellow and is found mainly on the tops of hedges. When I was a boy (born 1931)one could still buy English gorse seeds at the farmer's merchants. There's no native coal in the Island and the ancient forests disappeared centuries ago so gorse was used as kindling and, in the poorer homes actually as the only fuel.