Spring is upon us, inspiring me to publish a small collection of experiences which illustrate the attraction of the season. Spring is a revitalising stage that tempts us into summer. In honour of this transition, this collection is united as a ‘salute to the sun’.
The scented air has a cool bite in the still of early morning. A trickle of light filters through brick walls and onto the footpath, every small piece of sun gives a burst of warmth. The hum of an engine grows as it comes closer from behind, breaking the silence as the old Subaru whizzes past, filling up lungs with car exhaust. Jasmine is everywhere now, wrapping itself around the front gates of terrace houses. Dainty buds throwing a fresh perfume into the air, until the summer heat sets in and turns it brown like our skin.
Jagged bulging bodies of water find paths through mountains blanketed in eucalypts. The contours form like wrinkles on a curled hand which hold dams and backyard pools inside of it. These bodies of water capture sunlight and throwing it back into the eye that flies above it, in bursts of pure blinding gold.
Water A timid toe ripples the surface of the cold water. Then it was either bravery or idiocy that took over and flung my body off the concrete edge and into the ocean. I smacked the surface awkwardly and for a moment I plunged deeper into the darkest green towards the ocean floor. The full force of the icy water hit me and I yelped in shock, blasting bubbles up towards the surface. Streaks of sun beckoned me back towards it, and I didn’t hesitate to kick back up to the allure of its warmth. I rose from the darkness in a foaming scrambling mess, onto the rocks and back up the steps. With shaking limbs, I pressed my body into the afternoon heat of the concrete. Slowly reviving, watching salt water crystallise on my shoulder.
I agree with your comments discussing the personal impact “On Passing the New Menin Gate” had on your own perspective. Perhaps you could discuss in further how Sassoon demonstrates the hypocrisy of war?
I believe this poem stands up against the idealist perception of war, I don’t necessarily agree that the quote “Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate.- Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?” directly speaks of standing up for their beliefs as you stated. Perhaps you can further consider how this idea might be supported.
All over, a good response but be careful of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors (Perhaps consider changing “as seen your quote” to “as read in your quote?”)
Joseph Conrad in his preface to ‘The Nigger of Narcissus’ (1897) explores the role of the artist, the practice, and the definition of art. Conrad suggests that reflection should be the muse of high art, as he glorifies the importance to “….compel men entranced by the sight of distant goals to glance for a moment at the surrounding vision of form and colour, of sunshine and shadows; to make them pause for a look , for a sigh, for a smile…”. While it is a noble aim for any artist to hold the mirror back to society through their work, I believe Conrads’ ideology was heavily influenced by the contextual landscape and is as much a social commentary as it is a foundation of artistic practice. As industrialisation revolutionised the western world, modernist movements were characterised by the deliberate departure from traditional modes of thought, and the re-examination of every aspect of existence. In his preface, Joseph Conrad reflects the social progression of the time as he suggests the artist must remove themselves from the anxieties of societies endless forward momentum, or the distraction of the “distant goal” to truly appreciate the beauty of the present. In Maria Popova’s essay on The Value of Art (2011), she advocates Joseph Conrads concept, suggesting it is the role of art to contemplate and reflect, believing “This is the power of art: The power to transcend our own self-interest, our solipsistic zoom-lens on life, and relate to the world and each other with more integrity, more curiosity, more wholeheartedness.”
Food for Thought: A beautiful quote by Leo Tolstoy, in his essay “What Is Art?”: Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity