Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Boreham on Nature as Hope Bearer

Messenger of Hope
According to F W Boreham, a prominent aspect of nature was its rhythm in which “like a gigantic wheel, the cycle of the seasons revolve without apparently achieving anything by its revolutions”,[1] but despite this ‘illusion of futility’ “high ends are being compassed .… Nature was making progress all the time”.[2] Boreham perceived the purposefulness of nature in the turning of the tides,[3] the return of the swallow[4] and the day when “the elms ... having attired themselves in all their bravery of their new spring dresses, have curtained from me every object lying beyond themselves”, a day which he recorded for many years with precision.[5]

Indomitable During Tragedy
While he observed the irregularity of nature in the variegated patterns of flowers in contrast to the boring predictability of linoleum,[6] the relentless momentum and indomitability of nature was never more evident to Boreham than in the years of the Second World War. For example, during this period he observed: “Crocuses break through the snow; nodding daffodils smother the bank; yellow primroses carpet the leafy woods; bluebells swarm along the hedgerows; and the birds sing their mating-songs in utter indifference to the horror of the world’s stark tragedy”.[7]

Eloquent and Articulate
Boreham interpreted this death-defying messenger of hope as “the eloquent articulation of all those dumb forces that are struggling to tell of the light that breaks from the gloom of midnight, of the peace that issues from the terrors of war, of the good that triumphs at last over the mightiest evil and of the redemption that comes to men through the darkness and dereliction of the Cross”.[8]

Geoff Pound

Image: “nodding daffodils smother the bank”

[1] Boreham, Mercury, 1 December 1951.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 5 June 1943; Age, 6 December 1947.
[3] F W Boreham, The uttermost star (London: The Epworth Press, 1919), 264.
[4] F W Boreham, The last milestone (London: The Epworth Press, 1961), 135.
[5] Boreham, The passing of John Broadbanks (London: The Epworth Press, 1936), 261.
[6] Boreham, Faces in the fire, 54.
[7] Boreham, Mercury, 23 October 1943; Age, 6 April 1946.
[8] Boreham, Mercury, 3 May 1947.