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Thursday 6 December 2007

Emily Bronte's Mystical World

What a mystical and complex person Emily Bronte was! Totally tongue-tied in the company of strangers, so absorbed in her own inner world and so deeply connected to nature that whenever she was forced to be away from the Moors she became physically ill. To all outward appearances she must have seemed to have lacked any real experience about which she could write, and yet not only "Wuthering Heights" but also her poetry is filled with such inner passion that must have startled the people of Haworth who saw her every day as the quiet daughter of their parson. Hour upon hour as she trudged through the 'wild and windy moors' speaking to the characters that populated her inner world and were far more real to her than the everyday people she passed on that cobbled road up to the parsonage, she must have reached depths of understanding that can only be found in silence and following her 'inner guides' until out of a short life came one of the most passionate and memorable novels ever written.

Just goes to show that it's not necessary to have a vast experience of travel or society or anything else, to create a masterpiece! It all must come from within.

The musical "Branwell" * opens when Rev. Bronte, following the death of all his children, opens the little books in which they wrote their stories of Angria and the Great Glass Town. He sings:

"Do impassioned souls find relief in dreams
Creating roles and enchanted scenes?
Of hidden worlds little fingers write
To ignite secret stars making their darkness bright.
A childish script on a tiny page
A pretty play on a paper stage
Was I too old?
How could I understand
The secret games, the names the dreams carved by their hands?

Theirs was a world that I barely saw
Like a glimpse of light
Through a half-closed door;
Like a whispered word that I almost heard
That faded with the echo of a sigh.
Theirs was a world that I could not know,
A trail of footprints in the snow
Once deep and clear then they disappear
And I am left alone to wonder why.

Was their loneliness so intense, so bleak,
That only dreams gave them tongues to speak?
Of secret scars their spirits write
To dispel hidden wounds haunting their sleepless nights.
A fairy tale or reality?
A children’s game or a desperate plea
I should have heard?
How could I ever know
The secret fears, the tears of years so long ago?

* (c. Croft & Croft 2005)

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