Monday, April 11, 2011

Seeing Shropshire

After spending a few idyllic, incandescent days in the spring sun of Shropshire, I'm now back in hellish, hazy Hulme(1) trying to capture the essence of the countryside.

There's not many poems written about Shropshire, but I've selected a couple of sections of stanzas from A Shropshire Lad by A E Housman to try and compliment my photos. It's about seizing essences whilst you can!

A Shropshire Lad is from 1887 so it's quite 'oldey'. In a way it relates to a session I taught on Cultural Memory last week, about how we hark back to a simpler, non post industrial, rural England - before Cath Kidston tablecloths were adopted and labelled by Cath Kidston. As Terdiman stated (1993)'Memory signifies loss,' and when I saw the decrepid red phone box it triggered various memories of child/teenhood adventures, pre i-phone instaneousness. Memories are slippery, ephemeral and contrived. But comforting. When I saw these 'scenes' I took comfort in knowing they would become photographs. But the scenery is still there withough the censorship of my senses and I want to remember the land before it was scaped.


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.


Wake: the silver dusk returning
Up the beach of darkness brims,
And the ship of sunrise burning
Strands upon the eastern rims.

Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,
Trampled to the floor it spanned,
And the tent of night in tatters
Straws the sky-pavilioned land.

Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying:
Hear the drums of morning play;
Hark, the empty highways crying
"Who'll beyond the hills away?"

Towns and countries woo together,
Forelands beacon, belfries call;
Never lad that trod on leather
Lived to feast his heart with all.

Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber
Sunlit pallets never thrive;
Morns abed and daylight slumber
Were not meant for man alive.

Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.

(1) Blog post on 'Hellish Hulme' coming soon only I'm trying to capture it in its Spring glory. Similarly, some of the Shropshire scenes look a bit gothic grim - well the ones of derelict caravans and dishevelling sheds.

(2) There is nothing much I can do about the fact that some images are left aligned as it'll only let me edit in HTML and I'm not skilled enough to know how.

(3) Spot the spotty house

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