Central Peace, Endless Agitation

 

campanula in the rain.JPG
Campanula in the rain, 7 June

A pleasure this morning to spend my reading hour with the new Read to Lead course handbook, which landed on my desk yesterday. Thanks to the team who have worked so hard to produce such a lovely, useful thing!

 

handbook

It was a pleasure, too,  to remember this, which is featured on page 31:

I HAVE seen
A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
Of inland ground, applying to his ear
The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell;
To which, in silence hushed, his very soul
Listened intensely; and his countenance soon
Brightened with joy; for from within were heard
Murmurings, whereby the monitor expressed
Mysterious union with its native sea.
Even such a shell the universe itself
Is to the ear of Faith; and there are times,
I doubt not, when to you it doth impart
Authentic tidings of invisible things;
Of ebb and flow, and ever-during power;
And central peace, subsisting at the heart
Of endless agitation.

From The Excursion Book IV, by William Wordsworth

This is one of Wordsworth’s enormous metaphors which point us in the direction of the  unseen unknowable but intimated reality he exists as a poet to tell us about. That we might pick ‘the universe itself’ up to our ear and hear reverberations of ‘invisible things’ is a marvellous, to me ,true-feeling idea. And, this being Wordsworth, he goes on to have a go at describing those invisible things, things which struck me, this morning, as I wait for the polling station to open, as relevant to my day:

Authentic tidings of invisible things;
Of ebb and flow, and ever-during power;
And central peace, subsisting at the heart
Of endless agitation.

Good to read how, by picking the universe up and concentrating on it, listening to what comes back, we are to find access to some kind of ‘central peace, subsisting at the heart.’ Like the daily reading practice which I record here, I’m finding the exercise of  choosing something to look at and photograph each day gives me just such a moment of ‘listening’.

Now to enter in the  fray of the  world and – whatever the result of the  General Election –  endure more agitation.

I don’t have time to write much this morning as need to get out and participate in democracy before catching the London train. As I pack my bag I remember it is less than a hundred years since the slogan ‘Votes For Women ‘ was an extreme and unimaginable aspiration.