This present moment – how will future novelists capture the pain and poignancy?

I am reading ‘The Dean’s Watch’ by Elizabeth Goudge, an author I love because of her ability to set characters in time and place, in this case Ely in the 19th century. Her skillful prose captures in a few deft strokes, the history of the city, the lives of its people, and their dreams for the future.

Beauty and anguish in the watchmaker's Ely

My moments today have included:

  • The arrival through the post of a photobook, sent in by my extended family, for our mother/grandmother/great grandmother’s Christmas gift. When we planned this we did not know she would be in hospital asking for pictures. Divine timing!
  • Sitting at the foot of the bed of this nonagenarian is a joy. We have not been able to see her except through a glass screen for months.
  • News reports say promises of vaccines for residents of nursing homes have stalled. I see the frustration in the faces of the staff at her nursing home as they hand over her bag. They cannot explain why we can visit her on the ward, but not in her home.

The pain of these issues is eased by the sight of my family’s laughing faces in our photo record of 2020.

In Elizabeth Goudge’s Ely the joy of the watchmaker is in the beauty and intricacy of the valuable clock he repairs. They are owned by wealthy members of his society, whose lives are intersected by the hardship of chimney sweep boys, apprentices, orphans and serving girls at the opposite, often violent, end of the social spectrum. There are similar discrepancies in our society.

A response to the fiveminutefriday prompt PRESENT.

5 thoughts on “This present moment – how will future novelists capture the pain and poignancy?

  1. I’ve never heard of Elizabeth Goudge before! I’m always looking for new books to read :). I’m sitting in the same row as you on the FMF link-up. May the peace of God fill you and yours this holiday season!


  2. We cannot know the lives we touch
    as we pass on our way,
    but we can know there’s very much
    that our hearts should say
    to the people of the road,
    who labour in the dust
    and who bear the heavy load
    for us, that’s held in trust,
    for one day we shall seve them
    in Heaven, up above,
    and hope to get the table-crumb,
    offered us in love,
    for when our earthly reign is past,
    we, the first…we shall be last.

    Liked by 1 person

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