The Triumph of Life


Algy tucked himself down among the soft mass of dry bracken and last year’s fallen leaves, and reclined there happily, spreading his wings to catch as much of the late winter sun as he could. The sun was strong enough now to dazzle his eyes and cast deep shadows all around him, but its warmth was only the tepid heat of someone who has just woken up from a long, cold winter’s sleep. He rejoiced in the return of the light, however, and was reminded of the opening lines of Shelley’s poem:

Swift as a spirit hastening to his task
Of glory and of good, the Sun sprang forth
Rejoicing in his splendour, and the mask
Of darkness fell from the awakened Earth.

[Algy is quoting the opening lines of the long, unfinished poem The Triumph of Life by the 19th century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.]

Although there was a little watery sunshine in the early morning, the massive clouds rapidly descended, and Algy knew that the rest of the day would be wet again. He leaned back on the damp seaweed as the soft drizzle started, watching the ebb and flow of the water around the rocks and singing to the rain. He was singing his own setting of a poem by Shelley, and wishing that at least some of the rain clouds would blow around the world to visit his friends in those places where the rain was so badly needed:

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
        From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
        In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
        The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
        As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
        And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
        And laugh as I pass in thunder.

  I sift the snow on the mountains below,
        And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night ‘tis my pillow white,
        While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
        Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
        It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
        This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
        In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
        Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
        The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,
        Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

Algy hopes that you all have a wonderful Sunday, and that those who need rain will receive some of his! xoxo

[Algy is singing the first two verses of The Cloud by the early 19th century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. ]

The weather had improved somewhat. It was still very windy, with more gales forecast, but the lightning strikes had stopped, the sea was much calmer, and just at the moment there was no hail or sleet falling from the sky. For the first time in a week Algy felt that it would be possible to indulge in a wee bit of reading. So he tucked himself down under the tall Marram grass on the dunes, with the wind whistling over his head, and studied his book Poems of the Sea. This is what he read:

          ’Tis the terror of tempest. The rags of the sail
          Are flickering in ribbons within the fierce gale:
          From the stark night of vapours the dim rain is driven,
          And when lightning is loosed, like a deluge from Heaven,
          She sees the black trunks of the waterspouts spin
          And bend, as if Heaven was running in,
          Which they seemed to sustain with their terrible mass
          As if ocean had sunk from beneath them: they pass
          To their graves in the deep with an earthquake of sound,
          And the waves and the thunders, made silent around,
          Leave the wind to its echo.

Algy believes that the “weather bomb” storm has now moved on to threaten other parts of northern Europe, so if the tempest is raging over your head today, Algy hopes that you will be able to find a cosy, sheltered spot where you can stay safe and warm… and maybe indulge in a wee bit of reading :-))

[Algy is reading the opening lines of the poem A Vision of The Sea by the early 19th century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.]