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Thursday, 9 November 2017

«Ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω μία καὶ ὡυτή»

1943 - 'So was it when my life began'

In my childhood, lines were planted by their case officers – teachers, parents – introduced as suitable friends, even mentors to be trusted, but in truth, secret agents, sleepers to be activated far in my future.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.  
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.
My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
I knew these words, enjoyed and cherished them as companions and close neighbours; recalled them every day in mused fragments. I listened to Eliot's dry monotones on a 78 record in English class at school. These were trusted lines; taken for granted even. I wrote English essays on Wordsworth's maxim - extracted - 'The Child is father of the Man. Discuss'
My age stretches my recollection of times past into what younger people think of as history, but instead of studying history like them, as something taught - a subject detached - I am history, an inhabitant of times before theirs.
Only now have those sleeping lines come out - replete with meaning; truly here;  tumbling over themselves to fulfil their creators' spells.
2017 - 'So be it when I shall grow old'

 'The same road that leads upwards, leads downwards' Heraclitus. The road between upper and lower Korakiana from our balcony, after 2 days of heavy rain - the first on beloved Corfu since May

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Simon Baddeley