Friday, September 12, 2008

Poetry Friday - 26

They started up experiments with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN this week (deep under the Swiss/French border in the Alps). Radio 4 commemorated this amazing experiment with a day of radio programmes, including a one-off radio episode of Torchwood - the more "adult" Doctor Who spin-off, Lost Souls written by Joseph Lidster. It was a mixture of pseudo-science (this IS the Whoniverse after all!) and philosophical musings on life-after-death, but the story ended with two of the characters quoting lines from a poem by Alfred Tennyson (this is what I love about the Whoniverse - the wild mixture of serious and silly, and of "low" and "high" culture).

All Things Will Die

Clearly the blue river chimes in its flowing

Under my eye;
Warmly and broadly the south winds are blowing

Over the sky.
One after another the white clouds are fleeting;
Every heart this May morning in joyance is beating

Full merrily;
Yet all things must die.
The stream will cease to flow;
The wind will cease to blow;
The clouds will cease to fleet;
The heart will cease to beat;
For all things must die.
All things must die.
Spring will come never more.
O, vanity!
Death waits at the door.
See! our friends are all forsaking
The wine and the merrymaking.
We are call’d—we must go.
Laid low, very low,
In the dark we must lie.
The merry glees are still;
The voice of the bird
Shall no more be heard,
Nor the wind on the hill.
O, misery!
Hark! death is calling
While I speak to ye,
The jaw is falling,
The red cheek paling,
The strong limbs failing;
Ice with the warm blood mixing;
The eyeballs fixing.
Nine times goes the passing bell:
Ye merry souls, farewell.
The old earth
Had a birth,
As all men know,
Long ago.
And the old earth must die.
So let the warm winds range,
And the blue wave beat the shore;
For even and morn
Ye will never see
Thro’ eternity.
All things were born.
Ye will come never more,
For all things must die.

The lines used were worked into the play in a very natural manner, rather than being shoe-horned in, and were a genuinely moving conclusion to the story.

This week's Poetry Friday round-up is over at Biblio File.

(Somehow it doesn't seem like a week since I was sitting at Oxford station, waiting to get the train to Stratford and the most memorable evening of my life so far!)


Rachel Green said...

Beautiful poetry. Thank you for sharing.

Michele said...

You're welcome.

Author Amok said...

Your post reminded me of Dr. Who Date Night. In college, my roommates and I had a standing 1 AM Friday night "date" to watch the doctor on PBS.

Love the poem. Thanks!

Michele said...

There's devotion!!

You're welcome...

Anonymous said...

I love that poem. But I see your "all things must die" with Shelley's "if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" over at my place. :)

Michele said...

Hee, OK then! I'll be over for a look...

Lisa Jenn said...

What a beautiful poem! I love that about Doctor Who, too, that for all it is strange and silly, it is clearly written by highly literate, deeply thinking people. I think that's always true of the best science fiction and fantasy.

Michele said...

Isn't it gorgeous?

laurasalas said...

I love poems that mix celebration of life with acknowledgement of death. Deep acknowledgement. This is exquisite--thanks for sharing!