Matthew Arnold

And then they land, and thou art seen no more.
Maidens who from the distant hamlets come
To dance around the Fyfield elm in May,
Oft through the darkening fields have seen thee roam,
Or cross a stile into the public way.
Oft thou hast given them store
Of flowers—the frail-leaf’d, white anemone—
Dark bluebells drench’d with dews of summer eves,
And purple orchises with spotted leaves—
But none has words she can report of thee.

Matthew Arnold – The Scholar Gypsy

Freedom Fighter

‘I know they have an army at command, but if every hair on the head of that officer or soldier they have at their command were a legion of men, I would fear them no more than so many straws, for the Lord Jehovah is my rock and defence, under the assured shelter of whose wings and I am safe and secure, and therefore will sing and be merry; and do hereby sound an eternal trumpet of defiance to all the men and devils in earth and hell…’

From The Tower of London, April 3, 1649. Continue reading “Freedom Fighter”

Lest we forget

‘I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he; and therefore truly, Sir, I think it’s clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.”

Colonel Rainsborough’s famous appeal for democratic rights for all men. Putney, 1647

What Lies Beneath

When she ran out, her little dark brown head skimmed the car bonnet. My heart missed a beat; I slammed on the brakes. Swerved. And waited, for what seemed like an eternity, wondering whether death, or life, would be waiting when I got out.
But then there she was. She must have only been about five years old, and she was blinking, dark eyed and shiny, like a faun. I remember how she was wearing a cherry pink sari, and how a woman – her mother, presumably – then ran out and grabbed her. Continue reading “What Lies Beneath”

William Blake

A Divine Image


Cruelty has a human heart
And jealousy a human face,
Terror the human form divine,
And secrecy the human dress.

The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace seal’d,
The human heart its hungry gorge.