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                                             Verwood u3a History Group

                         Topic for 2022-23 - “English Pastoral: The Dawn of Everything”

            Look, stranger, at this island now
            The leaping light for your delight discovers,
            Stand stable here
            And silent be,
            That through the channels of the ear
            May wander like a river
            The swaying sound of the sea.

            Here at the small field’s ending pause
            Where the chalk wall falls to the foam, and its tall ledges
            Oppose the pluck
            And knock of the tide,
            And the shingle scrambles after the suck-
            Ing surf, and the gull lodges
            A moment on its sheer side.

            Far off like floating seeds the ships
            Diverge on urgent voluntary errands;
            And the full view
            Indeed may enter
            And move in memory as now these clouds do,
            That pass the harbour mirror
            And all the summer through the water saunter.
                                 W.H. Auden 1947 On This Island

            Altogether elsewhere, vast
            Herds of reindeer move across
            Miles and miles of golden moss,
            Silently and very fast.
                                 From W.H. Auden 1935 The Fall of Rome

            This topic will explore the dawn of our history, in particular how our identity
            emerged and evolved, what it meant to be offshore islanders living on the edge of
            the world, becoming a Christian people, a chosen people, all the time caught up in
            geopolitical forces, Roman, Irish, Germanic, Nordic, Frankish, Norman.
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