Another gale was blowing up, and the north-westerly wind was strong and horribly cold. In a bright interval between the battering showers of hail and sleet, Algy searched for a sheltered spot low down among the rocks, and found a cosy corner where he could keep his head down and put his feet up… Even there, the wind continued to whistle through his feathers, and he was reminded of a poem by William Blake:

          O winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
          The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
          Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs
          Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.

          He hears me not, but o’er the yawning deep
          Rides heavy; his storms are unchain’d, sheathed
          In ribbed steel; I dare not lift mine eyes;
          For he hath rear’d his sceptre o’er the world.

          Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
          To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks:
          He withers all in silence, and in his hand
          Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

          He takes his seat upon the cliffs, the mariner
          Cries in vain. Poor little wretch! that deal’st
          With storms, till heaven smiles, and the monster
          Is driven yelling to his caves beneath Mount Hecla.

[Algy is quoting the poem To Winter from Poetical Sketches of 1783 by the English poet William Blake.]

Algy’s old friend needed plenty of cheering up after her stay in hospital, so when Algy got too tired to continue his Happy Loony Dance, he retreated to a rock at a safe distance from the sea and got out his little volume of poetry, to read her this Laughing Song:

          When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
          And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
          When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
          And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

          When the meadows laugh with lively green,
          And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
          When Mary and Susan and Emily
          With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, ha he!”

          When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
          Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
          Come live, and be merry, and join with me
          To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, ha, he!”

Algy thinks that lots of his friends may need some cheering up just now, so he says “Come live, and be merry”! Forget the January Blues, and join Algy in singing the sweet chorus of “Ha, ha, he!” 🙂

[Algy is reading Laughing Song by William Blake.]

On this Remembrance Sunday, when traditionally it is those who have died in war who are remembered, Algy sat in sorrow beside his corner of the mighty ocean – that ocean which is capable of such terrible destruction. And he thought above all of the people of the Philippines – those thousands of men, women and children whose lives had been lost for no reason – and of all those who remained behind to grieve and to try to recover from the shattering devastation of the storm. He remembered a poem by William Blake:

          Can I see another’s woe,
          And not be in sorrow too?
          Can I see another’s grief,
          And not seek for kind relief?

          Can I see a falling tear,
          And not feel my sorrow’s share?
          Can a father see his child
          Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of On Another’s Sorrow by the great English poet of the late 18th/early 19th century, William Blake.]