Published in


Keeping An Easter Message Alive

We rise to play a greater part

(Update 2021)

A year on from its original publication, I bring these words to the attention of new readers — especially to those followers gained during this continuing pandemic struggle.

The turmoil and confusion that has so destabilized our worlds should be seen in the context of past disruptions. From the ashes of the 1940s, humanity made great strides and will surely do so again now that Covid-19 has exposed the distortions that have led us astray.

This past year has illuminated an increasing awareness of life-threatening planetary woes and the inadequate responses of prevailing economic ideologies.

This Easter, as those us in Northern parts edge closer to summers at home and those on the other side similarly explore the comforts of local communities, the entire planet experiences another involuntary Retreat — a useful time for contemplation. Do not pine for restoration of some old normality but set our minds to thinking what parts we can play to make a difference.

Sunrise over Europe
Sunrise over Europe (stock image source:

There’s very little happiness about this Easter in locked down England, or anywhere else. Science does not do optimism.

Comfort comes only in brief moments of reflection on recovery after previous setbacks. That is why we still revere a genre of ‘war poetry’. Poetry is at its most powerful when fuelled by passion. FR Scott, a Canadian, may not be classified amongst war poets, but his ‘Villanelle For Our Time’ found daylight in 1944.

From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part

If those words seem vaguely familiar, you may have heard them intoned by the poet’s friend and student from Montreal, Leonard Cohen.

This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.

Leonard may well have been drawn to Scott’s words, not because of some seismic world event but more from a personal perspective as he neared the end of his spiritual retreats at the turn of the millennium. It would still take another four years before they found a home on his ‘Dear Heather’ album.

We loved the easy and the smart,
But now, with keener hand and brain,
We rise to play a greater part.

FR Scott reflects that the trauma has sharpened minds to think more deeply — to reach beyond everyday superficialities.

The lesser loyalties depart,
And neither race nor creed remain
From bitter searching of the heart.

This wartime reduction of differences, a levelling, remains much disputed in our current Covid-19 trauma: medical ethics demand fair treatment, but the suffering is disproportionately felt by those already gravely disadvantaged.

Not steering by the venal chart
That tricked the mass for private gain,
We rise to play a greater part.

FR Scott nails the populism that resulted in WWII, but we can hear Leonard, sixty years later, striving to overcome the march of market-led politics.

Reshaping narrow law and art
Whose symbols are the millions slain,
From bitter searching of the heart
We rise to play a greater part.

Finally, a brief reminder that FR Scott was a Law professor who railed against blinkered and literal interpretations. But throughout, the refrain looks forward to a better future.

This Easter may we all strive to keep this message alive.

We rise to play a greater part.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Groupe Intellex

Groupe Intellex


David Brunnen on Governance (Communities, Sustainability & Digital Challenges} PLUS reflections on life in Portchester — the place that he calls home.