Sustainable Development #15 Personal Survival

Sustainable Development can only happen for societies when individuals can survive.

This time last year I believed it was impossible for me to survive well into this year in Australia.

I was wrong.

The key reason I have survived is kindness and intellectual engagement from some very decent people: Graeme, Justin, Eddy, Jarrod, Kelly and Shelly, the above words from John Wesley describe the best of the human spirit and I see this type of goodness again and again in you.

Thanks for being my friends.

Geoff Fox, 17th July, 2020

Literary Tujuhbelasan #3 Ode: Intimations Revisited


(Revised by Geoff Fox from William Wordsworth’s classic original poem.)

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, the earth, and every common sight, to me did seem apparelled in celestial light, the glory and the freshness of a dream.

It is not now as it hath been of yore ……. turn wheresoe’er I may, by night or day, the things which I have seen I now can see no more.

Such is life in the Lord.

The Rainbow comes and goes

                                                       ……. and lovely is the Rose.

The Moon doth with delight look round her when the heavens are bare.

Waters on a starry night are beautiful and fair.

The sunshine is a glorious birth.

But yet I know, where’er I go,

That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep: I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng!

The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep, and all the earth is gay; land and sea give themselves up to jollity, and with the heart of May doth every Beast keep holiday …….

Thou Child of Joy, shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy.

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call ye to each other make; I see the heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; my heart is at your festival; my head hath its coronal, the fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.

Oh evil day! if I were sullen while Earth herself is adorning this sweet May-morning and the Children are culling on every side, in a thousand valleys far and wide, fresh flowers ,while the sun shines warm and the Babe leaps up on his Mother’s arm …….

                                                                                     ……. I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!

…….But there’s a Tree, of many, one, a single field which I have looked upon, both of them speak of something that is gone; the Pansy at my feet doth the same tale repeat: whither is fled the visionary gleam?

Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

It’s in God’s song.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

the Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar ……. not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home.

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own, yearnings she hath in her own natural kind.

And, even with something of a Mother’s mind, and no unworthy aim, the homely Nurse doth all she can to make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man, forget the glories he hath known and that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses, a six years’ Darling of a pigmy size!

See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies, fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses, with light upon him from his father’s eyes!

O joy! that in our embers is something that doth live, that Nature yet remembers what was so fugitive!

The thought of our past years in me doth breed perpetual benediction: not indeed for that which is most worthy to be blest, delight and liberty, the simple creed of Childhood, whether busy or at rest, with new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast …….

Not for these I raise the song of thanks and praise but for those obstinate questionings of sense and outward things, fallings from us, vanishings; blank misgivings of a Creature moving about in worlds not realised, high instincts before which our mortal Nature did tremble like a guilty thing surprised …….

But for those first affections, those shadowy recollections, which, be they what they may, are yet the fountain-light of all our day, are yet a master-light of all our seeing, uphold us, cherish, and have power to make our noisy years seem moments in the being of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, to perish never, which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour, nor Man nor Boy, nor all that is at enmity with joy, can utterly abolish or destroy!

Hence in a season of calm weather, though inland far we be, our Souls have sight of that immortal sea which brought us hither, can in a moment travel thither, and see the Children sport upon the shore, and hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!

And let the young Lambs bound as to the tabor’s sound!

We in thought will join your throng, ye that pipe and ye that play, ye that through your hearts to-day feel the gladness of the May!

What though the radiance which was once so bright be now for ever taken from my sight, though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower.

We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind, in the primal sympathy which having been must ever be, in the soothing thoughts that spring out of human suffering, in the faith that looks through death, in years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves, forebode not any severing of our loves!

Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might.

I only have relinquished one delight to live beneath your more habitual sway.

I love the Brooks which down their channels fret, even more than when I tripped lightly as they.

The innocent brightness of a new-born Day is lovely yet.

The Clouds that gather round the setting sun do take a sober colouring from an eye that hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality.

Another race hath been, and other palms are won.

Thanks to the human heart by which we live, thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, to me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. ………

……… and that’s God’s Peace.

Literary Tujuhbelasan #2 Tintern Abbey Revisited

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (as edited and slightly revised by Geoff Fox, April 4th, 2020. Wordsworth’s great poem is anchored in the Self. This new version goes from the Self to God.)

I hear these waters, rolling from their mountain-springs with a soft inland murmur impressing on a wild secluded scene thoughts of more deep seclusion; and I connect the landscape with the quiet of the sky.

I repose here, under this dark sycamore, and view again these hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms, green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke sent up, in silence, from among the trees!

Oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din of towns and cities, I have owed to them, in hours of weariness, sensations sweet, felt in the blood, and felt along the heart with tranquil restoration ………..

……….. feelings too of unremembered pleasure: memories of that best portion of a good man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered, acts of kindness and of love.

Nor less, I trust, to them I may have owed another gift, of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood, in which the burthen of the mystery, in which the heavy and the weary weight of all this unintelligible world, is lightened ………..

……….. that serene and blessed mood, in which the affections gently lead us on,— until, the breath of this corporeal frame and even the motion of our human blood almost suspended, we are laid asleep in body, and become a living soul ………..

……….. while with an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.

And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought, with many recognitions dim and faint, and somewhat of a sad perplexity, the picture of the mind revives again.

                                                           And so I dare to hope.

I’m changed, no doubt, from what I was when first I came among these hills; when like a roe I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams, wherever nature led: more like a man flying from something that he dreads, than one who sought the thing he loved.

For nature then to me was all in all.

I cannot paint what then I was.

The sounding cataract haunted me like a passion.

The tall rock, the mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, their colours and their forms, were then to me an appetite; a feeling and a love.

They had no need of a remoter charm, by thought supplied.

That time is past,

All its aching joys are now no more.

And all its dizzy raptures.

Not for this faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts have followed; for such loss, I would believe, abundant recompense.

For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes the still sad music of humanity, nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power to chasten and subdue.

And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean and the living air, and the blue sky, and in the mind of man.

A motion and a spirit, that impels all thinking things, all objects of all thought, and rolls through all things.

Therefore am I still a lover of the meadows and the woods and mountains; and of all that we behold from this green earth.

I am well pleased to recognise in nature and the language of the sense the anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, the guide, the guardian of my heart and soul and of all my moral being.

And so this prayer I make, knowing that Nature never did betray the heart that loved her:

                                                  Praise Our Lord!

For He and She and It can so inform the mind that is within us, so impress with quietness and beauty, and so feed with lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all the dreary intercourse of daily life, shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb our cheerful faith that all which we behold Is full of blessings.

                                  Therefore let the moon shine on thee in thy solitary walk and let the misty mountain-winds be free to blow against thee: and, in after years, when these wild ecstasies shall be matured into a sober pleasure; when thy mind shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, let thy memory be as a dwelling-place for all sweet sounds and harmonies,

Praise Our Lord!

(revised for the mad CoronaVirus world by Geoff Fox in semiself isolation from Australia, a.k.a. Terra Nullius, April 4th, 2020)