Hello. It’s only me. Back online after some time out in the wilds of the world. I have to say it’s a relief to be back with you all. My forty days in the Tower seems all the more precious and fleeting in hindsight. The great challenge for me now is to cultivate the same sense of concentration and communion I luxuriated in then. Out here the world screams, seduces, ignores, judges, rushes by. I feel much lonelier and shallower.
Of course the world also throws up gifts. Here’s a poem that I found washed up amongst the flotsam on my doormat when I finally arrived home yesterday. Courtesy of my friend Sax Impey who has himself returned from a long voyage with some beautiful paintings of the sea.
by Lord Byron
To sit on rocks, to muse o’er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest’s shady scene,
Where things that own not man’s dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne’er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o’er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, ’tis but to hold
Converse with Nature’s charms, and view her stores unrolled.
But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world’s tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
Let me remind you now that my hermitage, in seclusion and at large, is coming to an end and this discussion will soon close. On September 3rd a public meeting will be held at the Manchester Museum. The Collections Development Panel of the Museum will be there, along with the Museum Director and myself. Anyone else who is interested is welcome to attend.
At this meeting all the discussions on this blog will be assessed. I have opened up a space for us to collectively consider the value of museums and also things in the world. Anyone with strong views on how we should treat our common heritage still has a few days to make their ideas known. Remember that a single solitary voice with an idea about a particular object is unlikely to be successful. I would urge you to gather support from others if you are serious about your proposal. You will have to work to inspire others with your vision. You could urge your friends and family to give their support if other interest groups are not forthcoming. Any community will be more convincing than none.
Just as important is to support the proposals of others which you feel are worthy. Otherwise the status quo is likely to continue.