Staying Six Forever and Ever

Now We Are SixGates of Vienna has been around such a long time, at least it seems so to me. It is difficult to remember life before blogging, much as it is hard to recall life before children. But six years isn’t much — given, say, the age of the broken arrowheads we often unearth in the garden, it’s a youngster in comparison.

The accumulation of time amounts to well over eight thousand posts and more than eight million visits. That’s a lot of water over the dam…or perhaps a damn lot of words?

It is certainly a most amazingly blesséd encrustation of readers, writers, and friends. A few enemies to leaven the mix, just to remind us (in case we should forget) that we really do walk through the valley of the shadow of death sometimes.

But the naysayers are few and mostly harmless. As one of my children once said, “God told us to love our enemies but He didn’t say we couldn’t have any”. Amen.

When reminding me of this sixth year anniversary, of course the Baron and I both said, in unison, “Now We Are Six”. For those of you not familiar with the poems of A.A. Milne, let me recommend them. If you’re struggling to learn English, then his lines will give you a sure feel for the cadences of a most idiosyncratic tongue. And for those of you entering your second childhood (or having failed to leave your first), Milne is an apt companion.

There is even a Facebook page for “Now We Are Six”. Obviously someone remembered a parent’s voice reading those poems and decided the whole Facebook world should be let in on the secret.

The journey from the first post at Gates of Vienna to now was full of surprises for both of us. We started out with two ideas in mind: to stand by Israel and to raise American awareness of the dangers of Islam.

Israel may be even more in jeopardy than it was back then; it is certainly more weary and besieged. Our hearts go out to Israel, the canary in the coal mine.

Islam is more aggressive and arrogant than ever. We learned slowly that jihad is forever until it is vanquished. We understand so much more fully now the strictures of Sharia and how inflexible are the laws under which every Muslim back is bent. But Islam will not prevail; supremacist ideologies never do. People may go through great travail before it is cut down to size, but circumstance and custom will prevail against this invader and annihilator of cultures. It will not stand.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Here is the title poem of Milne’s book:

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever

So I think I’ll be six now
Forever and ever

Ah, yes, forever. Indeed, that will be the case as long as freedom of speech is still the law of the land and as long as we post material which others want to read, or until they carry us off to the Home where we will rest, nearer to Forever than we are at the moment.

Is it a slog? Sometimes. Particularly for the Baron who needs must carry the major share of the burden for our blog. I wish I still had the energy of our early days in cyberspace, but the slings and arrows have taken their toll. Had I but known, I should have called on Saint Sebastain rather than Dymphna.

What is happening in American and Europe gives us hope. People are laying their lives and livelihoods on the line in the cause of “ancient liberties”. What one person does can’t be compared with the others, but they all can be celebrated. There is much in The Long War to give one careful optimism, even as we step to avoid the potholes and wreckage caused by those who hate the West, even and perhaps especially, our internal foes who despise their own culture.

In looking at Milne’s work whilst preparing for this post, I ran across some lines he wrote in the darkest part of 1918:

Oh, I’m tired of the noise and the turmoil of battle,
And I’m even upset by the lowing of cattle,
And the clang of the bluebells is death to my liver,
And the roar of the dandelion gives me a shiver,
And a glacier, in movement, is much too exciting,
And I’m nervous, when standing on one, of alighting —
Give me Peace; that is all, that is all that I seek…
Say, starting on Saturday week

Indeed, Mr. Milne. That’s just about the right span of time for any reasonable person. Would that it could be so…

Our first post was on a Saturday. Today is also a Saturday. In between, if my calculations are correct, three hundred and twelve more Saturdays have come and gone.

So Saturday week sounds good to me.

6 thoughts on “Staying Six Forever and Ever

  1. As one of my children once said, “God told us to love our enemies but He didn’t say we couldn’t have any”. Amen.

    This is quite true. It is also true that Jesus never told us that we couldn’t give our enemies a right-proper drubbing either.

    Keep at it Dymphna, Baron. You’re starting to make it big (if the Guardian [of Nothing]’s use of your blog as a source is anything to go by).

  2. Congratulations and many happy returns upon this sixth anniversary for Gates of Vienna!

    Your mention of Milne is especially welcome. As a dedicated bibliophile, it is no small measure of how treasured Milne’s works are that the classic older editions of his books are rarer than hen’s teeth at all the second hand shops and used book stores.

    As a child it was my good fortune to have a mother that read to me. Among the books read aloud were the works of Milne.

    For those of you who have never done so, I challenge any of you to read one of Milne’s Pooh stories aloud sometime. It is no easy task.

    Pooh, being a bear of very little brain, requires one to adopt a deeply thoughtful yet utterly vacuous tone. Piglet is more of the borderline hysterical and squeaky sort whereas Owl must be authoritative and wise beyond measure. Eyore is clearly melancholy personified while Kanga is motherhood in all its no-nonsense glory.

    Each of them require rather different voice characterizations and attempting to alternate through the lot of them without confusion in the course of a ten page story can be a genuine trial.

    Let us please all agree that Disney’s candy-arsed, fluffed up portrayal of E.H. Shepard’s original renderings is every bit a similar sort of butchery as that wrought upon Sir John Tenniel’s “Alice” illustrations by the same smarmy crew.

    Shepard’s Pooh and Milne’s cast of characters will live on in childhood memory long after Disney’s rework has been lost to the sands of time.

  3. Zenster–

    Perhaps there are so few of those first books because they were loved to death by their owners.

    I wonder how many parents sneaked ratty, dog-eared copies into the trash because the thought of having to do yet one more bright recitation of the beloved
    James James Morrison Morrison
    Weatherby George Dupree
    was more than the parental mind could safely contemplate?

    You mention your mother’s reading Milne to you: no greater gift can an adult have than the memory of his mother’s or father’s voice reading, say, “King John”. Ever after, when seeing a Milne poem on a page, our parents’ voices return in their exact cadences.

    [Home-schooled children have a distinct advantage when it comes to poetry: they are introduced to lots of it. Saturated with it. They don’t get the word that poetry is “boring” until they’ve already learned to like it.

    Thus, when our ten year-old picked a WW I poetry anthology out of our bookcase, he had no prior ideas about what it should be. He wasn’t a prodigy, just a normally intelligent kid who liked to play “war” (and liked the ‘poetry’ in the prologues of some Calvin and Hobbes books) so he figured a skinny book about war was probably tolerable.]

    Re Milne, I do hope to stumble across a missing manuscript of his, perhaps titled “Seven is Heaven” in time for next year’s anniversary…

    And you’re right about Disney. OTOH, you reach each generation as best you can…

  4. It was six years ago today,
    Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
    They’ve been going in and out of style
    But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.
    So may I introduce to you
    The act you’ve known for all these years,
    Gates of Vienna Counter Jihad Band.

    Congratulations guys! Keep it up 🙂

Comments are closed.