Thursday, April 17, 2003

I was also reading A.N. Wilson's 'God's Funeral'. The chapter is about the poet Swinburne. It starts off describing this Victorian rebel, a drunkard, into flagellation, enthusiastic atheist. I was thinking 'what could possibly interest me about this guy?' and then I started to read his poetry. It is incredibly appealing, it has structure and it sounds good, even just reading it to yourself. Then he started talking about the poem 'Hertha' and I looked it up on the Internet and I found a very good poem. Of course it is opinionated but it is also very well written and in parts quite beautiful, I'm even considering learning parts of it off by heart.
The poem is something like an 'earth goddess' giving advice to people on earth. She is telling us how to live, what to do etc. and who she is and how to understand the earth. I particularly like the following stanza:

I the grain and the furrow,
The plough-cloven clod
And the ploughshare drawn thorough,
The germ and the sod,The deed and the doer, the seed and the sower, the dust which is God.

A.N. Wilson points out that this poem would seem to indicate that he was not a complete atheist and his campaign for the 'death of god' was perhaps tongue-in-cheek, this would seem to indicate a more mystical outlook, more intune with the 60s hipsters than 1860 victorians.

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