The Battle of Wakefield and Other Cautionary Remarks

I did something rather strange the other day. I picked up a book of poetry. In my defence, it was at a leaving party and I only had the Vicar for company. I hardly dare to admit this to the squadrons of eager followers here, since, of course, I am a warthog with no imagination and a fragmented soul, but I do rather enjoy the odd iambic pentameter or five…Of course I do.
Physics students remember fondly the exploits of Richard, Duke of York, who at Wakefield ‘gave battle in vain’ when remembering the order of the spectral colours. When we were six, we learned that ‘he had ten thousand men. He marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again. And when they were up, they were up, and when they were down, they were down, and when they were only halfway up, they were neither up nor down.’

As an archetypal bystander, the halfway house really is home. It lacks the panorama of the fortress and the freedom of the meadow; nevertheless the vantage point is usually OK and climbing higher makes one conspicuous, don’t you find?
I wonder if I am therefore a closet Laodicean? or, perhaps not –  being lukewarm about certain things can’t always be classified as sinful, many things deserve mediocrity in one’s response to them and emotional responses are so frightfully exothermic. The planet is warm enough without my adding a kilojoule or two to the total.
A A Milne says it all so well for me.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else

I have removed the exclamation marks and I have no idea who the child is.

2 thoughts on “The Battle of Wakefield and Other Cautionary Remarks

  1. Funny you should mention mediocrity – of course, this is an entirely subjective viewpoint – because I was nearly moved to write a blog entry about getting shot at. At the bottom, one simple gets dumped on (a euphemism for a much more suitable but unsavory word), and at the top, one gets shot at. Safely installed in the middle one gets to do a little dumping and a little shooting. Not so bad a place to be, I'm thinking.

    There was a little girl
    Who had a little curl
    Right in the middle of her forehead.
    When she was good
    She was very good indeed,
    But when she was bad she was horrid. ~ Longfellow
    (Nothing mediocre about this girl!)


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