Sunday, 15 August 2010
Against all odds...
Our next door house has been standing empty for over a year now; what with the state of the world market etcetera etcetera no-one seems prepared to buy it. Years and years ago when the people she bought it from were preparing to sell they dug up the front garden, dragging out all the old plants and bushes grown leggy and bedraggled. Our gardens are on a slope, so they laid old railway sleepers across to make ledges, first laying membrane and presumably weed-killer then covering the whole lot with gravel. Hummph....not very picturesque. Not a plant left standing and surrounded by a privet hedge...typically a suburban eyesore, neat but barren, especially bounded by..a privet! Privets always make me think of 1960 intercity parks, all uniform and soulless, or Glasgow council estates or Salford, where 'the Salt of the Earth' live but they haven't got the cash to splash on dahlias and geraniums. (I'm not knocking anyone..I've been there done that bought the tshirt.) Anyway.... there, in amongst the gravel, which is a bit sparse by now having been ground hither and thither by the aforementioned rain I espied two tiny white cyclamen! Straight as dyes,standing out proudly and twice as delicate! I snook over a low fence and grabbed a photograph. I say snook as I was in my pyjamas and I didn't want anyone to see me...don't ask. Oh well... if you must! Oversized men's supermarket tshirt and washed-out pink bottoms, plus old beige cardigan, you should have seen me, SJP I'm not!
Right away 'Against all odds.' popped straight into my mind. I thought, there they are, sooo delicate looking, creamy white against the gravel and snatches of black plastic membrane, battling through to get to the sunshine and the warmth. Tiny, tiny beautiful flowers, 'pearls amongst the swine' but still triumphant.
I thought, there's a sign for me! Two tiny flags saying, "You know what...
Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not nor faileth,
And as things have been, things remain;
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers-
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back,through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent,flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look! The land is bright."
Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)