March 2021



In last month’s article I more or less wrote off February as a month in favour of rushing on to March, putting aside the chills and shivers of the second month.

However, February did have its benefits for many, not least the receipt of Covid vaccinations, though many still suffer from this vile disease.

So what about March? This year Lent is already under way and will see us through the whole month as Maundy Thursday is on April 1. In turn this means that March will include Mothering Sunday (14th), always a brighter spot in the year, followed by the International Day of Happiness (20th!)

Less happy might be (as Shakespeare reminds us) the Ides of March (15th). Having ignored warnings to ‘stay home - save lives’ Julius Caesar went out and was stabbed in the back (and front) by both enemies and friends.

March has its share of saints’ days, David on 1st, Chad on 2nd, Thomas Aquinas (7th), Gregory (12th), Patrick (17th), Cuthbert (20th) and Benedict (21st) so there are plenty of chances for veneration as the days pass into Spring (clocks go forward on 28th).

So it seems that March 2021 can be welcomed in a positive frame of mind and poets have generally done that. The American Emily Dickinson certainly did:

‘Dear March - Come in - How glad I am - I hoped for you before - Put down your Hat - You must have walked - How out of Breath you are - Dear March, how are you, and the Rest - Did you leave Nature well - Oh March, Come right upstairs with me - I have so much to tell’

Algernon Charles Swinburne (a rather wayward son of Northumberland, my home county), got quite carried away, writing. ‘Ere frost-flower and snow-blossom faded and fell, and the splendour of winter had passed out of sight, The ways of the woodlands were fairer and stranger than dreams that fulfil us in sleep with delight’ and paid tribute to ‘March, master of winds, bright minstrel and marshal of storms that enkindle the season they smite…’

One benefit of writing these articles is that I can choose to mention things that I like and pass them on to readers. So, I bring you George Matheson, a Scottish minister, who was born on 27th March 1842; he was blind but became a prolific writer and author of hymns, including

 

O love that wilt not let me go

I rest my weary soul in Thee;

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.

 

O Joy, that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to Thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain

That morn shall tearless be.

 

‘Nuff said.

 

Colin Dixon




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