Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Today's News

Today, as so often happens, I had finished all my library books so I trawled along my shelves to look for something to read.   Often I choose one of my travel books; now that I can't travel so far I enjoy reading about other people doing it; second-hand travel is better than no travel at all.

But today I chose that other good old standby - one of the many books I possess written by Ronald Blythe.   I am a great admirer of this Suffolk /Essex border writer, whose books are a mixture of notes about natural history, religious writing, interesting facts about all kinds of things.  Although I am not at all religious I even get pleasure from reading these bits as he does throw new light on the topic.I only read for about half an hour but long enough to give me food for thought.

He talks about depressing news every day on radio and television; about wars and rumours of wars; about immigrants; about fatal accidents; about drugs; about murders (these being the topics covered on the 6pm television news this evening).   And he suggests that these things are nothing new - things have always been thus but only in the days since the Second World War has 
communication been such that we all know about it.

Imagine the news on television at the time of the Crusades (,there was plenty of cruelty in the name of religion there), or the mass exodus of people in the days of King Herod.  Or imagine seeing the beheading of Anne Boleyn played out on television or the Charge of the Light Brigade.

But of course, what has also changed is the ferocity of the weapons used, the mass killing power, the air power, the atomic weapons.
Nevertheless, it is a point worth thinking about.

And taking this time thing from another angle, he also speaks of how much further we travel these days and how communication has changed out of all recognition.    Even a hundred years ago
ordinary folk usually lived in close proximity to other members of their family (apart from the brave souls who set out for the New World).   Anyone who lived 'away' could bank on rarely seeing their relatives.It did become easier with the arrival of the train.

Blythe suggests we read W H Auden's 'There is no change of place'
(not easy to understand but then poetry is never easy is it?).   As Fuller says in the crit the poem is based on the paradox that improved communications have brought about a state whereby we all find it easier to communicate at a distance.   As I am sure you know by now, I am a poetry lover.   I have just downloaded the poem from the internet and shall sit and read it a few times in an effort to understand what Auden is saying.   Then I shall read it at our Poetry afternoon tomorrow.   A good poem says a lot in few words.

Finally, if you want a treat, go to Thelma's (North Stoke on my sidebar) site to see Eric Ravillious's beautiful harvest painting.   For, like poetry, art says a lot in no words at all, and his painting of harvest in the early part of the twentieth century says so much - how harvesting has changed, what beauty there is to be seen in a simple country scene, and above all the tragedy of a young life cut short by war (Ravillious was killed in 1942).   The image of such a peaceful harvest scene contrasted with the image one conjures up of an artist cut short in his prime is worth a thousand words.

13 comments:

A Heron's View said...

Hello Pat am sure that you would agree with me, when I say that the world has changed considerably in the last seventy years too ?

angryparsnip said...

What a beautiful painting. The colors just reach out and are a delight.

cheers, parsnip

Gwil W said...

I will revisit that poem. Thanks.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Programmes where history is covered in the style of the modern news network is always interesting. There was a good one a few years ago, with a sort of Crimewatch revisited portrayal of James VI of Scotland investigating witches.

jinxxxygirl said...

I like some poetry Pat... but not the kind that requires deep thought to understand...lol Maybe you call it 'light' poetry? i also like my poetry to rhyme... or tell a story.. I guess when you come down to it, it has to make sense... Hugs! deb

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

That painting is wonderful. Glad you pointed it out.
:| m & jb

John Gray said...

Yes..its lovely

Cro Magnon said...

The bicycle saved many country folk from marrying cousins. It gave them the opportunity to venture their own village boundaries.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Will venture to visit what you have suggested. I'm only now, at 59, learning how to read poetry. Has always intimidated me. For years I taught kids to use their five sense when first approaching a poem. Then, of course, we built from that. Stupid me never thought to utilize those methods myself. Now, I don't worry if I don't understand an entire piece. I gather the parts that I do understand and enjoy them.

Just finished Bill Bryson's travel journal, Neither Here Nor There. Fun, although he is a bit of a whiner. Will look into the one you mentioned.

Bovey Belle said...

It's a lovely evocative painting isn't it? He's an artist I hadn't knowingly come across until seeing that picture on Thelma's blog.

Your post today is very thought provoking - can you imagine how the 6 o'clock news would report the Irish Potato Famine, and subsequent exodus to America for those who could manage the fare?

I think in Victorian times so many people left their birthplace to head to the cities or the mines or wherever they could find work. In the late 1800s when farming was in decline because of a series of dreadful summers, following from when wheat began to be imported from Canada, Scottish farmers came down to East Anglia to take over farms there as they could work as family units and keep their heads above water.

Heather said...

I shall take a look at that painting - thanks Pat. Your post makes me realise how much has changed, and how little has changed. I'm not sure if that is depressing or a comfort.

Devon said...

Communication has changed so much, as I sit here in California Wednesday morning drinking my tea before work reading your blog which you wrote Wednesday afternoon. Last Christmas my 18 year old daughter was at college and couldn't get home due to her job. We skyped on the computer and she watched and interacted with us as we all opened presents, commenting as she would as if she were in the room. So nice to have the option to stay connected!

donna baker said...

Like you, I can't travel very often and do so vicariously through others. That suits me and is much less expensive and stressful.