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Friday, 11 May 2012

Our poet laureate for the street

“A near-run thing,” he said
Wellington, surveying the field of Waterloo

In everything we do
We fly or fall together, peace as war..
The mystery of what it’s for
Is less than the conviction
That it’s possible :

Wait : don’t close the gate just yet,

Not even when the world hangs wet
With disbelief.

Put on your boots
And Water the ground :
Look around : it’s Spring,
And a living place is possible :

Even if, like love and war, “a near-run thing” ..

                    for Alison, - and Wellington Road

                        spring 2012
                        Mark Ball
                        Beresford Road

1 comment:

  1. The battle of Waterloo was in the 19th century as important a myth of British integrity and national victory as the events of 1940 became for Britain in the 20th Century. But when he was asked about his triumph, Wellington was honest enough to point out that the battle could have gone any way, at any moment, - it had been as he put it, “a damned near-run thing...”

    In all forms of social activity, under the heat of war, or in the press of peace, we succeed or fail because of one another. Why we struggle so hard to win, to build, to create, to sustain, in the face of so much that will wreck whatever we do, is a mystery in the end : we do it because we must : we do it less out of practical grasp of it’s final purpose than out of a deep hope or conviction that hope and purpose are possible, that we can make the world better, and pull off the difficult and demanding things.

    So, - when it comes to maintaining, sustaining, re-creating a sense of community, it’s not a good idea to shut the gate too soon on the outside world, and assume that the task is an impossible one. The times are pessimistic and tell us it can’t be done : men and women, groups and cultures, no longer believe in their capacity to move forward creatively. Disbelief, lack of faith, hangs in the air, like the rain that soaks our hopes of a bright Spring day.

    The point is to refuse to be pessimistic. In practical terms, in metaphorical terms as well, we should put on our Wellington boots, step into out gardens.. Rain or not, it really is the Spring season, and in every sense our gardens, our spirits, ours communities need working on.

    A way of being alive , of staying alive, of living more fully and hoefully with others is always possible, though only if we work for it.

    The struggle to make a community happen, like the struggle to win a war, or the struggle fully to love and to live, is always, and will alwaysbe, “a near-run thing”..

    Mark Ball