Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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19 Jan 2007

Peter Russell and the Poetry of Powerdown…

r1Last Wednesday the writer and physicist **Peter Russell** gave a talk at St. John’s Church in Totnes as part of the TTT programme called **’Time to Wake Up!’** It was attended by about 270 people and was a great evening. I didn’t take any notes or anything useful or intelligent like that, but what I wanted to share with you was the poem that he recited at the end of the talk. The following day I did an interview with him which I will post here once I have transcribed it, but for now I just want to share the poem with you.

I remember when I left school at 16 my class teacher gave me a card that had this poem in it, and I hadn’t heard it since, although it is quite famous. Listening to it in the context of peak oil and the changes coming down the line at us gave it a fresh context and I found it very moving. It was written during World War Two. It is by a poet called Christopher Fry.

“A sleep of prisoners”

>The human heart can go the lengths of God.
Dark and cold we may be, but this
Is no winter now. The frozen misery
Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;
The thunder is the thunder of the floes,
The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.
Thank God our time is now when wrong
Comes up to face us till we take
The longest stride of soul men ever took.
Affairs are now soul size.
The enterprise
Is exploration into God.
Where are you making for? It takes
So many thousand years to wake,
But will you wake for pity’s sake!

The ‘God’ bits don’t do much for me, but I love the sense of things slowly gathering momentum, and “affairs are now soul size”. Indeed.

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1 Comment

Stephen Watson
27 Jan 11:00am

Thanks Rob – it’s moving and powerful and new to me.