Night Journey

‘Greetings to the solitary. Friends, fellow beings, you are not strangers to us. We are closer to one another than we realize. Let us remember one another at night, even though we do not know each other’s names.’ is the gentle ending to David Gascoyne's beautiful poem (written for the BBC) 'Night Thoughts'.

It is a call to solidarity, a recognition that underlying our apparent loneliness is a commonality of spirit and that underlying our disenchantment from the world is a wonder that is calling us home.

I was reminded of this when looking at this: one of the painter, Lorna Graves', beautiful solitary images of a magicked figure travelling across a landscape in which it is at home yet tantalizingly fragile, as if the message of an enfolded transcendence plays hide and seek with us.

This is one of Lorna's angels, travelling at night within sheltering wings, towards an orientating moon and stars. It is both inherently mysterious and yet strangely comforting. This is what transports at night, weaving meaning, whether we know it or not, bringing us closer to the wonder of things.

She was a remarkable artist and I met her for the first time at the same conference at which I met David Gascoyne - at the Temenos Conference on Art and the Renewal of the Sacred at Dartington Hall in 1986. We all three of us together found ourselves sharing a table in the White Hart Bar - three different generations, united in a shared introversion! It could have been a disaster! But under Lorna's gentle questioning, Gascoyne happily held forth on poetry and existentialism that we all brought round together to Berdyaev and Buber!

In which the common theme was unfolding presence in which God was not taught as much as caught fleetingly within the fabric of speech and image as a touch that lured you on, framing each and every potential action compassionately, for how could you respond otherwise, if everything, held aright, was God's speaking to you, showing you, asking a response?

In her art, Lorna, happily moved betwixt the commonplace shot through with wonder and the wonderful shot through with the commonplace, holding the two together in mesmerizing images, that are by their very nature a  'binding' of two worlds - the root meaning of religion.


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