Saturday, November 30, 2013

Social Pain

I have just been reading an article from Brain-pickings (posted on Facebook) about the essential connectedness of humans. One point it makes is that what it calls "social pain" (i.e. the loss of a loved one or the failure of an endeavour) is felt in essentially the same way as physical pain, but we look upon it very differently. As they point out if we have a broken leg or something similar we are not told "to just get over it" . This is something that I must have understood intuitively, because I am disturbed by the present day attitude to grief.  Sorrow has become socially unacceptable. We are not allowed to mourn. We may mention our physical pains, but not our emotional ones. So many people I come across are taking anti-depressants. Surely it is natural to be unhappy sometimes. Life is not a perpetual bed of roses. Shouldn't we accept this fact instead of trying to run away from it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Yesterday I was at the Blue Route Mall, driving slowly along the road behind the building which leads to the undercover parking. All at once, in front of me, was a big red balloon bowling along the road in the most extraordinary way. It was as if it had a life of its own. It would bounce a few times, roll a little and then leap up into the air (waist high or more). Coming back to earth, it would continue on its way: bounce, bounce, bounce, roll, leap, roll, bounce, bounce.  I have never seen anything like it. As it came to a corner, I saw there was a lorry blocking the way. The lorry was trying to back into a driveway and was half way across the road. I had to stop and I expected the balloon to be brought to a standstill too. But no. As though on purpose, it veered to the right and passing the lorry, carried on along the road out of sight. A few seconds later, the road was clear and I was able to continue. I looked for the balloon, but there was no round, red object to be seen, only a starling, flying up in front of my car, flashed its scarlet wings at me. It was as though the balloon had changed into a bird? Did this really happen or was it a hallucination?  

The Hound of Heaven

One of the exercises given to us in our U3A  writing group was trying to find new words with their definitions. I went to word a day on Google and got the word  "Amaranth". This word was not new to me. I was not sure but seemed to remember that I had come across it reading Francis Thompson's Hound of Heaven. so I Googled that as well. I was in for a treat! I found I was able to hear this poem read by Richard Burton - surely the only actor who could do justice to the richness of Thompson's poetry.  I have read this poem often with its  wonderful message of grace and redemption, but I was moved as never before.

And yes the word 'amaranth' or rather 'amaranthine' does appear.
' ... a weed albeit an amaranthine weed, suffering no flower but its own to mount'