Calling the faithful city back to the faithful God

Right to Roam?

Right to Roam?

In the classic Peanuts cartoons, there’s a line I love about not needing a national children’s day because ‘every day is children’s day.’ To a poet every day is a poetry day but because poetry can be lost in the clamour of daily life we have an annual focal point for poetry, National Poetry Day, this year on September 28th.

Recently a friend talked to me about having the ‘right to roam’, figuratively speaking rather than the literal freedom of access to country walks for ramblers. This ‘freedom to roam’ idea made me think of William Blake’s youthful poem about loss of innocence and liberty, about being shut in a golden cage. The poem begins, ‘How sweet I roam’d from field to field.’ Tennyson’s 1832 poem, ‘The Lady of Shalott’, is also about being alive, seeming to have a gilded life garlanded with roses and pearls, yet in reality lacking freedom, existing in a half-life of shadows with ‘little joy’ or time ‘to sport or play.’

In the New Testament, we read of a counter-cultural life, life in all its fulness and of being set free to live a truly free life. I admit to sometimes choosing the seeming safety of a gilded cage over uncertain liberty. And yet, poetically in the Old Testament, God promises to look after his ‘sheep’, to lead them to lush pasture, free to roam mountain pleasures and with sufficient food, rest, safety, direction, and health.

So, ahead of National Poetry Day I’m off to my poet’s garret to do a bit more musing but I’m going to be careful not to spend too much time there lest I miss out on living. As the ever-sensible Jane Austen wrote, ‘too much poetry may be unsafe’, although I guess focussing on it once a year won’t hurt!