A leonine laughter

The draw at the heart that is in another scriptural voice, within another attempt by human beings trying to overhear the whisper, the soft wild growl of God.  The draw is because the heart is responding, and I have seen the holy lives lived within other faiths.  This holy book is full of God’s fierce, challenging humour, and is there all the time within it, and yet there is the peace given from our listening to it, an authentic, rich peace.

An old city dances!

We look at a city and think it is permanent – but anyone who knows and loves European cities sees and loves them as competing fragments of streetscapes.  In Bath, the overwhelming impression is Georgian of course, but it too dances with different elements of its long-lived self – a medieval city wall; the great Romanesque cathedral’s crossing tower piers at the east end of the very joyous Abbey church, whose fan vault pillars give the impression of great trees in constant and emphatic Spring flower; a war damaged fragment, a single story only of what must have been a much larger building on the south side of the old city, and occasional bubblings of the ancient landscape, the sandbanks that once flowed down to the river.  All cities, living and scarred beasts.

Arnold’s 9th Symphony (1986)

I was listening to this as the great tree beyond my window faded last night into the misty darkness.  The work is a creative miracle – dragged out of a pain distorted life, yet expressing this long journey with utmost simplicity – in the first two movements, a repeated tune is passed between the different voices of the orchestra, then the long cry of the Finale ends with a flute-inflected D Major chord, a final word of light.  The simplicity of a master, yet a simplicity that confused on its first performance.