The Temple

Lecture & Poetry Recital by Gawain Douglas

The Temple

Lecture & Poetry Recital by Gawain Douglas


A talk on The Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Po Chu-i, and his remarkable 20th century translator/re-creator, the polymath Arthur Waley. The talk is interspersed with the recitation of various short poems and concludes with the masterpiece ‘The Temple’, an account of Po Chu-i’s ascent with friends to a temple at the top of a perilous mountain, ‘Wang Shun’s Hill’.

Po Chu-i was many things, a Buddhist, a poet, a musician, a mountaineer, a naturalist, a lover of wine, a humorist, and a serious depressive. He had a lifelong conflict between the demands of the world and officialdom and his poetry, and the deeper call to transcendence; and to find this transcendence in the freedom of hills and streams. He finds his illumination in ‘The Temple’, a work of radiant joy, but as is usually the case, it fades, as he probably knew it would. He falls back into the world’s mire. Bhuddist or Christian we are imperfect beings.
The talk highlights the remarkable commonality of thought and feeling between the modern English mind and a Chinese government official and poet 1200 years ago; also the extraordinary feat of recreation by Arthur Waley in the transmission of that duality in one stream of thought and language.
Lord Gawain Douglas is a teacher, performing poet and musician. His recitations include the ‘Sonnets’ of Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ and ‘The Waste Land’.


(under 18s free)


Event duration: c.60'

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St Mary the Virgin · St Mary in the Marsh


St Mary in the Marsh
Romney Marsh
TN29 0DG


It is probable that there was a Saxon church on the site originally known as "Siwold's Circe". This was superseded after the Norman invasion by a stone built church with a splendid three tier tower of Kentish ragstone. The oldest parts of the church date to about 1133 AD. The chancel was extended in about 1220 AD and the spire added around 1450 AD. Inside is a plaque commemorating Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, who lived at St. Mary's Bay and is buried in the churchyard. There are many interesting features of the building which warrant a visit.

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