The English Dream

I was thinking about the English Dream today as I was doing some shamanic work with the land …that there is an English Dream as much as there is an American Dream, and yet to believe that such a dream has no real substance in a world of lies that itself exists within maya or illusion makes us vulnerable to the hellish nightmares of nihilism and a dystopia fed to us through the lens of a media trained by the Frankfurt School.

It has always been up to us creatives to keep the spirits of the land of our nations alive so that our people can thrive – whether we are poets, dancers, authors, painters or musicians. For instance, when we hear a piece of music by Elgar or Vaughan Williams we think “ah yes, England!”, and our hearts soar with Vaughan Williams’s lark, or undulate in delight like the green and pleasant land depicted in the soundscapes of Elgar. It gives us great pleasure that someone has managed to compose our native, indigenous spirit into existence, to keep the dream alive.

I feel the same about Vita Sackville-West’s poem entitled The Land in which she really captures the spirit of England, and what it is to be English, by her word painting of the dreaming seed of Kent, the Garden of England.

Despite the globalist beliefs of the Bloomsbury crowd that she was among, she knew that it was not about some form of superiority or racism to feel proud of our country. It is really about love. It is about love of the land that we have been born into and the knowledge that this land which nourishes and sustains us grows out of the graves of our ancestors going back for thousands of years. It is almost a kind of bewitchment or enchantment that rises up in our hearts at different seasons, but particularly at the beginning of Spring.

There is a Scottish dream too, similar to the English one, but with more rugged landscapes, like vast mountainous wildernesses and storm-tossed coastlines. The Irish dream is also like the English dream, but lusher and sweeter, and the green is more emerald with a rainbow around every mysterious corner. And the Welsh dream is also very much like the English one except there is a sense of a warm song of welcome in every green valley and a flaming beacon on every proud hill.

Every country has a dream, “and if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” (with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein!).

Here are just a few verses of Vita Sackville-West’s very long poem, The Land. I think just this small taster is enough to tell us that it is virtually a love song to her native land in which practically every word is seeding the magic into the soil of our minds of what the English Dream means. In this way, she kept it alive, and serves as a great example for all of us!

THE LAND by Vita Sackville-West

Why should a poet pray thus? poets scorn

The boundaried love of country, being free

Of winds, and alien lands, and distances,

Vagabonds of the compass, wayfarers,

Pilgrims of thought, the tongues of Pentecost

Their privilege, and in their peddler’s pack

The curious treasures of their stock-in-trade,

Bossy and singular, the heritage

Of poetry and science, polished bright,

Thin with the rubbing of too many hands:

Myth, glamour, hazard, fables dim as age,

Faith, doubt, perplexity, grief, hope, despair,

Wings, and great waters, and Promethean fire,

Man’s hand to clasp, and Helen’s mouth to kiss

Why then in little meadows hedge about

A poet’s pasture? shed a poet’s cloak

For fustian? cede a birthright, thus to map

So small a corner of so great a world?

The country habit has me by the heart,

For he’s bewitched forever who has seen,

Not with his eyes but with his vision, Spring

Flow down the woods and stipple leaves with sun,

As each man knows the life that fits him best,

The shape it makes in his soul, the tune, the tone,

And after ranging on a tentative flight

Stoops like the merlin to the constant lure.

The country habit has me by the heart.

I never hear the sheep-bells in the fold,

Nor see the ungainly heron rise and flap

Over the marsh, nor hear the asprous corn

Clash, as the reapers set the sheaves in shocks

(That like a tented army dream away

The night beneath the moon in silvered fields),

Nor watch the stubborn team of horse and man

Graven upon the skyline, nor regain

The sign-posts on the roads towards my home

Bearing familiar names—without a strong

Leaping of recognition; only here

Lies peace after uneasy truancy;

Here meet and marry many harmonies,

—All harmonies being ultimately one,—

Small mirroring majestic; for as earth

Rolls on her journey, so her little fields

Ripen or sleep, and the necessities

Of seasons match the planetary law.

So truly stride between the earth and heaven

Sowers of grain: so truly in the spring

Earth’s orbit swings both blood and sap to rhythm,

And infinite and humble are at one;

So the brown hedger, through the evening lanes

Homeward returning, sees above the ricks,

Sickle in hand, the sickle in the sky.

Shepherds and stars are quiet with the hills.

There is a bond between the men who go

From youth about the business of the earth,

And the earth they serve, their cradle and their grave;

Stars with the seasons alter; only he

Who wakeful follows the pricked revolving sky,

Turns concordant with the earth while others sleep;

To him the dawn is punctual; to him

The quarters of the year no empty name.

A loutish life, but in the midst of dark

Cut to a gash of beauty, as when the hawk

Bears upwards in its talons the striking snake,

High, and yet higher, till those two hang close,

Sculptural on the blue, together twined,

Exalted, deathly, silent, and alone….

You can read the whole poem here: