Ways to Roam. It’s an odd name. You kinda get it. . .it has something to do with travel. But why that particular wording?
The inspiration comes from a poem called The Soldier by Rupert Brooke, a famous English war poet. He wrote it in 1914 at the beginning of the First World War, and the original manuscript is kept at King’s College, Cambridge. I will go and see it one day.
Rupert Brooke died in 1915.
It’s a sad poem. It’s about a young man facing death. But it’s also profoundly loving and patriotic about his homeland, and it has always resonated with me. I studied it at school, and it’s deeply embedded in my memories of England.
When I started this blog, I wanted a name that was quintessentially English, but also reflected the concept of foreign soil. The Solider was the first thing I thought of.
So, here it is, in all its brief, glorious fullness.
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
That’s beautiful. Thank you, Rupert Brooke.
Rupert Brooke, 1913