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Transformations

May love lend wings

May love lend wings to prayers we send
In memory of those who fell ;
That they may fly, all hurts to mend
In hearts where evermore shall dwell
Remembrance.

And shall that love be felt, by those
Who know the pain of sadness’ darts ;
To draw condolence and repose
From understandings in the heart’s
Acceptance.

Let formless thoughts, that drift as mist
In troubled minds, so be distilled here
To form the stream of words that list
Coherent prayers designed for sheer
Relievance.

For there’s a purpose, suffering
In grief’s unholy mad disguise ;
That, discovered, shall surely bring
Fresh comprehension, wherein lies
Transformance

Jamie MacNab 2012

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I was just reading a book in which JRR Tolkien’s name cropped up, together with a few lines of his.

Although now long estranged,
Man is not lost or wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
And keeps the rags of lordship he once owned.

Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light
Through whom is splintered from a single White
To many hues, and endlessly combined
In living shapes that move from mind to mind.

….

We make still by the law in which we’re made

(JRR Tolkien)

These thoughts of his remind me of how far humanity has fallen in the last few hundred years, during which time so many people have been beguiled by the easy doctrines of physics (especially) that they have come to think of themselves as machines – biological machines, to be sure, but machines nevertheless.

Now it is true that there is much that is mechanical about a person – as a trip to the dentist will remind us ; but there is also so much more that is not mechanical.  For example, can consciousness be properly described in mechanical terms?  is love a mechanical process? is free will mechanical?

Tolkien here straightens our ideas, I think.

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Moonshine

By Highstone Mead there blooms a rose
Whose blush can tell where lies her heart
(As far from her as swallows fly
For distant lands, these shores to part).

For ever must the kindly Moon
Entangle with her darkling thought ;
And braid her flowing hair with lace
Of silver bearing hope un-taught.

Does Queen of Night in truth concern
Herself with cares of hapless love?
And can Selene equal shine
On mortals’ grief from high above?

“Do rays that fall on one of two
Effect the same on other side?
And make the holy combine whole?
For faith!  Let golden hope abide!”

So speaks the rose in colours soft
As heart uplifts to praise the Moon,
Who blesses all that in her trust.
The parting shall be over soon!

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Everybody knows that to be in love is to be bound.  It is love that holds close and it is love that ties the knot.  But everybody knows also that to love is to be able to let go ; it is love that is not cloying and it is love that grants freedom.  This is all part of the essential duality of the world in which we live ; a world of opposites and contrasts.  A world in which we have to make adjustments and reconciliations.

Bearing this essential duality in mind, it is interesting to follow the fortunes of one of the great sociological experiments of our time.  Some forty years ago was unleashed on the world a great movement for women’s liberation ; a movement that reached the proportions of a crusade.  The aim of the crusade was to liberate women from the constraints that womanhood itself imposes.

For example, women were to be freed as far as possible from the constraints that naturally come with being a mother.  The bonds which naturally tie the mother to her child were to be loosened so that the mother would be free to pursue other interests.  Instead of being a constant companion to her child, she would be a part-time companion.  Instead of being ever-present to educate her child, by playing and reading, she was to use her liberty to set aside ‘quality time’ with her child ; time in which both mother and child could cram as much ‘interaction’ as an hour or so would allow.

The plan also allowed women to take up paid employment, so increasing the family’s income.  But not only to increase income, but also to achieve an even greater objective : equality with men.  If men were to be allowed to earn money, then so were women.  And, while the mother was away working, the child would be placed in the care of professional minders ; it would be a member of a group outside the family.

It is not difficult to enumerate the results of this policy of freedom, though they would make a long list.  It is surely no accident that children are becoming more difficult to educate at school ; it is no accident that standards in education have declined ; it is no accident that examinations have had to be downgraded.  Likewise, it is no accident that house prices have escalated to the point that it now requires two working people to afford a mortgage, whereas once it took only one.  And it cannot be due to mere chance that youngsters are now so ill-behaved.  These are just a few of the ills that the new freedoms have brought in their wake.

But, it will be argued, the freedoms that women have gained are real ; and freedom is, in itself, an unquestionable good thing.

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A red, red rose

Oh, my luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June :
Oh, my luve’s like a melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I ;
And I will luve thee still my dear
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands of life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve !
And fare thee weel a while !
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

Robert Burns 1793

This song was composed by Burns as an improvement on a street ballad, which is said to have been written by a Lieutenant Hinches as a farewell to his sweetheart, when on the eve of parting.

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Betrayed by love

What price a soul that sways with ease
In every happy  passing breeze?
What price a heart that seeks to freeze
It’s burning, yearning nature?

Deeper than soul, let thy spirit fill
With Being – steadfast  – not icy will.
True hearts can beat yet firmer still
Given free adventure.

Does Eros infiltrate your world
You thought so  well defended?
Then vain your hopes him to repel,
For you yourself are traitor!

Jamie MacNab

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Are dreams made of this?

I heard it said, when young I lived, that all
Was but a dream ;  no thing that worldly mind
Conceived existed free from self’s own thrall ;
And all contrary views were made seem blind.
Could it be true that this ideal I kent
Included thee, with all thy spelling charms?
A loveliness, but thus contained and pent,
Would fill a cosmic mind with dire alarms
So ne’er a soul as poor as mine can claim
To own a mortal beauty such as thine ;
But only borrow little of the same,
To hold and cherish, never to be mine.
If love be love, then any fool can see
‘Tis meaningless if lovers be not free.

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