When darkness comes

“To save one’s soul, one needs to read”.

I am reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for the third time.  If you are interested in the story, The Times has a brief summary of the historical novel on the back cover:

“It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think of what to write next.  Out of the blues, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence.  When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Soceity, Juliet’s curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members.  As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realises that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.”

Hard times.  Some lived to tell the tale, some didn’t.

I’ll read you page 56, one of the letters Eben Ramsey wrote to Juliet:

“Best to say we weren’t a true literary society at first.  Apart from Elizabeth, Mrs Maugery, and perhaps Booker, most of us hadn’t had much to do with books since school.  We took them from Mrs Maugery’s shelves fearful we’d spoil the fine paper.  I had no zest for such matters in those days.  It was only by fixing my mind on the Commandant and jail that I could make myself lift the cover of the book and begin.  It was called Selections from Shakespeare.  Later, I came to see that Mr Dickens and Mr Wordsworth were thinking of men like me when they wrote their words.  But most of all, I believe that William Shakespeare was.  Mind you, I cannot always make sense of what he says, but it will come.

It seems to me the less he said, the more beauty he made.  Do you know what sentence of his I admire the most?  It is, ‘The bright day is done, and we are for the dark’.  I wish I’d known those words on the day I watched those German troops land, planeload after planeload of them – and come off ships down in the harbour!  All I could think of was, Damn them, damn them, over and over again.  If I could have thought the words, ‘The bright day is done, and we are for the dark’, I’d have been consoled somehow and ready to go out and contend with circumstance – instead of my heart sinking to my shoes.”

A chord is struck here.  Dark clouds are looming over the political future of Hong Kong. The bright day is done, and we are for the dark.

Are we going to strive ahead?  Are we ready to go out and contend with circumstance? When darkness comes……


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