This quote keeps running through my head, and I have to ask, does anyone out there know where it comes from?
'Strength was gone, but spirit strong, and still he struggled, on and on'
It sounds a little like one of the quotes my father would sometimes say to himself. Sayings which began with lines like, 'If the sergeant drinks your rum, never mind' or 'I have no pain dear mother now, but oh, I feel so dry.' However, on reflection, I don't think it was one of dads many quotations for I feel I'd recall it if it were. It could well have come from the many 1950s versions of dime novels that I once read in abundance, books written by the likes of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Louis L'Amour or Michael Moorcock. How I loved those short, app 125 page long books, and I'd spend hours in thrift shops to satisfy my yearning for their heroic adventurers. Many of you will remember, 'Thorps Bookshop,' at the top of the High Street in Guildford, Surrey, which had several rickety floors full of old and musty smelling paperbacks. At times, 'Thorps Bookshop,' almost became my second home and its where I spent much of my hard earned, spare cash.
But today I think that the much thought of line, 'Strength was gone, but spirit strong, and still he struggled, on and on,'
probably didn't invade my mind via a dime novel. It probably arrived in the form of one of the many self penned poems or what I once called my bike riding songs. Sadly, I have no way of knowing for certain but, back in the 1980s when an old push bike became my closest friend, I used to cycle whilst composing my masterpieces at the same time. Poems like, 'The Pathetic Diabetic,' 'The Boys From Shamley Green' and 'Druss the Legend,' all entered my creative mind on the way to becoming immortalised on paper via my bike rides. There is no trace, however, of the mystery line I'm searching for amongst my archives and so, once again, my search for an answer has hit a dead end and that's bloody frustrating.
So I have to accept that some questions have no answer and although I now find myself in the unpleasant position where my personal strength has gone, my spirit is still extremely strong. As far as struggles are concerned, I have none of any import, for I am safe, warm and much loved. The team of state nurses call regularly, my friends telephone or email often, my children are a constant support and my wife is the eighth wonder of my personal world. However, if anyone can point to a Rudyard Kipling or a Rupert Brooke as the source of my missing line I'll die a contented man.