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.
30th March 2020
Ode to a Nightingale reminds us of the power of the imagination to triumph over human frailty and disease.
27th March 2020
Whilst we are unable to gather for our Passiontide Service, it is still possible to share the music we would have enjoyed, and find a moment of peace.
26th March 2020
Whilst we wait for a knight in armour to save the day, our Head of Art History encourages us to use this time to look at the world around us with fresh eyes.
25th March 2020
For the third in our series of Thoughts for the Day, the Chaplain celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
23rd March 2020
'Invictus' was written by a man who, as a child, suffered tuberculosis of the bone, had to have a leg amputated and nearly lost the other. Henley had to endure much and this poem is about the spirit which underpins endurance. As pupils continue their learning remotely, Div Dons will send them a 'Thought for the Day' during term-time, carefully chosen to inspire reflection and discussion. These selections, alongside a brief introduction, will be shared here daily.
10th February 2020
The international, scientific journal, Physics Education, has published a paper by students and teachers from Winchester College and Barton Peveril College.