Last week marked the spring equinox – the moment of the year where the scales begin to turn in favour of longer days, and more light. It was, to be sure, an odd moment to experience when we were being told to stay at home, and in the face of the disruptions of all the rhythms and patterns of the normal year; a fact particularly felt by those who work in schools, onto whom these rhythms are ingrained – just like the trees in this poem -- and for those in the top year, too.
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
Philip Larkin (written 1967, published in High Windows 1974)
The trees – whether Larkin’s or the magnolia trees that line the walk through the College – will record this year in the way that they faithfully record others, evenly and steadfastly ‘written down in rings of grain’ regardless of how unique and disrupted it is. Eventually, we too will take stock, revivify and begin ‘afresh’. To circle back (a move Larkin would no doubt be deeply sceptical of): the spring equinox tells us there will be longer days ahead of us; but ultimately there will also be more light.
19th September 2020
Science School has a diverse collection of fascinating objects, from an 18th-century microscope, fossils and taxidermy birds, to apparatus used to teach physics in the early 20th century. Twenty-four of the most interesting and unusual objects from the collection are now online.
7th September 2020
In the first of a series of insights into school life during this unique time, we hear from Ben Wen who recently joined the school as a JP in Furley's, spending the past two weeks with his brother in quarantine. Ben looks back at his first impressions of boarding life.
2nd July 2020
In our last postcard from home this term, Anvesh explains that, whilst he misses friends and school life, he has enjoyed spending time with his family, learning recipes from his older sister and playing games with his parents.
27th June 2020
Struck by the terrible hardships facing vulnerable communities in his home city of Bangkok, Toh started making nutritious, tasty food to be delivered to those most in need. In an inspiring postcard, he explains how he's balanced his charity work with his school work.
26th June 2020
There is always something to celebrate at Winchester College and the last couple of years have been particularly full of significant anniversaries - the opening of the boarding houses and the conversion of Commoners into classrooms - and this summer sees the 150th anniversary of the opening of Moberly Library.
22nd June 2020
English don Tom Quale considers how literature bears "the indelible impression of its time" and what that might mean for the writing taking place during this turbulent period.