Monday, 3 August 2020



1 Awake, awake to love and work!
The lark is in the sky;
The fields are wet with diamond dew;
The worlds awake to cry
Their blessings on the Lord of life,
As He goes meekly by.

2 Come, let thy voice be one with theirs,
Shout with their shout of praise;
See how the giant sun soars up,
Great lord of years and days!
So let the love of Jesus come
And set thy soul ablaze.

3 To give and give, and give again,
What God hath given thee;
To spend thyself nor count the cost;
To serve right gloriously
The God who gave all worlds that are,
And all that are to be.

(Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy, 1883-1929)

As so often, it is Pa’s Methodist hymn book that has been buzzing around in my brain. No. 588 this time. The tune, in F major as I rightly guessed, is utterly appropriate and listed as a ‘German traditional melody’. That must be why, as my cerebral submarine starts to rise from the depths, I find myself composing verse in German: Wach auf, wach auf, betrübtes Herz/Du kannst nur fröhlich sein/Vergiß jetzt deinen alten Schmerz/Im warmen Sonnenschein. And then, as I approach the surface of consciousness: Wach auf, wach auf, du alter Narr/Du solltest fröhlich sein/Der Himmel ist so blau und klar/In deinem Glas voll Wein. And yesterday I surfaced with something completely my own: And like a flügelhorn/I greet the dawn. At which I mutter Ogden Nash to myself: I have a bone to pick with fate,/Come here and tell me girly,/Do you think my mind is maturing late,/Or simply rotting early?
Nash entitled this quatrain ‘Lines on Facing Forty’. At least I nearly doubled this before it started to become uncomfortably relevant. And while we’re at the 80 mark – my brother was born 80 years ago today. And Ma and Pa got married 82 years ago today. I salute them. Stored away in my mind. So be it. And like a flügelhorn I greet the dawn.

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