Here’s something for you to start your week with. I hope it speaks to you.
It resonates with me, and celebrates the same themes of Fortress of the Mind.
It’s a poem by Sir Stephen Spender (1909-1995) entitled I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great. Spender was among a group of Oxford poets who flourished in the 1930s. Among them were W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice.
I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great
I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
What is precious is never to forget
The delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth;
Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light,
Nor its grave evening demand for love;
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how those names are feted by the wavering grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.