Thursday, 17 February 2011
Tories felled by Forest Thump
Like Bottom before him, David Cameron wandered into the woods and got turned into an ass. Seems Oberon is still around, and doesn’t discriminate between a rude mechanical and a smart-arse plutocrat.
It isn’t just that the woods won. They always must. What surprised me was the totality of the surrender and the speed of the victory.
I’ve written before about the cultural and emotional resonance of the woodlands. Thinking a little more around the theme, I begin to understand that for a people with such a bruised, retiring and secretive sense of nationhood as the English, certain things will have animating force; that when the symbolic and the actual are united in a single phenomenon, as they are in these ancient woods, an extraordinary vitality will exist – which we’ve just seen uncorked.
Coole House in Ireland, the home of Lady Gregory, was clearly once such a place. Why else was it destroyed? But Coole’s Seven Woods remain, and I’ll leave it to an Irishman (an Anglo-Irishman) who used to frequent both woods and house to suggest more boldly what I’m hinting at here. This is a little known poem by W.B. Yeats, Introduction to the Shadowy Waters.
All the versions I found online have inaccuracies. In the one linked here, "hordered" should be "bordered" (line 1); "bough's" should be "boughs" (line 6); "Buddy" should be "Biddy" (line 15); "clown" should be "cloven" (line 20); and "Paire" should be "Pairc" (lines 7, 9 & 11). I've left a note at the site. Maybe they'll correct the copy one day.
Thanks to all who signed petitions, campaigned, and spread the word.