The Gates of Janus


May Janus ‘usher’ in a better year for us all than the last one.

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6 Responses to The Gates of Janus

    • eternalidol says:

      Both the picture and the verse are wonderful, Austin, so thank you for these. I composed this brief post, which took me no time at all, but before I published it, I realised that I didn’t know the origin of the word ‘usher’. I looked it up and to my great surprise and joy, I learned that it ultimately derives from ostium, a Latin word for door – ianua, of course, being another, while Dr Robin Melrose has suggested that the word ‘Druid’ means Door Man or something similar. At this point, I could launch into a small essay about Jim Morrison, the Doors, Blake and then Stonehenge, but I’ll leave it there as it’s as good a start to 2015 as I could have hoped for 🙂


    • eternalidol says:

      And I’ve just noticed this post from Anne Sudworth, so I’ll reproduce it here:

      Happy New Year!

      I know I’ve posted this poem before but I love it.
      The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy.

      I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-gray,
      And Winter’s dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
      The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
      And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.

      The land’s sharp features seemed to be
      The Century’s corpse outleant,
      His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
      The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
      And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless as I.

      At once a voice arose among
      The bleak twigs overhead
      In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited ;
      An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
      Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

      So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
      Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around,
      That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
      Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware.


  1. corvusrouge says:

    this is going to appear to be an entirely random thing to post with regards to the theme of this post, but I’ve just come across this and thought it may be of interest to you. The website is a new-agey type of site, with some dubious connections being raised and made and this piece is not much different, but check out the video if you haven’t seen it before…



    • eternalidol says:

      Thanks for this, Red Raven – if Geoffrey of Monmouth said that there were once giants, then that’s good enough for me, but that video was certainly interesting. I’m no geologist, but I can’t see any way that this ‘thing’ can possibly be a footprint, let alone one that’s as old as three billion years, but that doesn’t matter. I had never heard of it before and even if it’s a modern carving, it’s certainly curious and well worth seeing. It also happily reminds me of the film The Ninth Configuration and Cutshaw’s conviction that God was a giant foot, but I’d have to watch it again to refresh my memory on the details.


  2. Austin says:

    The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy is a favourite , so much so I quoted it in my first ever blog post on 30 January last year .
    The Door Man and Dionysus dare to dream as
    An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
    In blast-beruffled plume,
    Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.


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