If you’re not that familiar with the movement that is Romanticism then you’re probably thinking I’m recommending the literary equivalent of a Hugh Grant flick. Fear not! Romanticism has a lot less to do with Tim Tams and The Notebook than the name would suggest.
You know how you crave a horizon uncluttered by skyscrapers, a beach devoid of footprints and a line up not littered by heads? You do? Do you also harbour a distinct distaste for society, its institutions and its growing disconnect with the environment? You do? Sounds like you’re a Romantic my friend. Do you often feel like you’re fighting a losing battle against the corruptive forces of the majority in this vacuous world? You might even be a Romantic hero. You see, the Romantics are all about putting their feelings before logic and allowing the solitude of nature to spark creativity, teach and redeem.
Now, Byron may seem like an odd place to align these ideals with. If you’ve ever surfed the Pass you know it’s a location more likely to see you strangle a small child on a bodyboard with your leash out of pure crowd frustration than inspire some sense of the sublime.
But, apart from just having you feel like a martyr against the masses, there are few places that so regularly inspire awe.
Now, I’m going to try and describe a regular Byron setting without getting all romantically poetic. Here I go; ‘Stashing the car keys under the bulbous roots of a pandanus palm, I descend the stairs down onto the sand. Shallow pools formed by the low tide feel warm on the feet. As the sun begins to dip over the surrounding range the ocean lights up gold, taking on the appearance of undulating oil, smoothed by the light bree……’ Wait. Damn it! I told you. Impossible. I didn’t even get to the waves. Not to mention the girls. If there is anything that inspires romantic reverie more than a sun-kissed hunny pedalling her bike towards the beach, little twin fin under her arm, bleached tendrils drifting in the wind….. yeah, you get the picture.
You’ll be so busy frolicking in the natural playground that the bite size nature of much of the poetry makes the Romantics the ideal companion. Whether enjoying a desolate back beach with more peaks than a Himalayan mountain range or cooling yourself under some hinterland waterfall, take some Wordsworth, Keats or even the aptly named Lord Byron to see how best to put words to the sensory assault that is the Byron Shire.
Here are a couple for you to dip your toe into:
-William Blake: Songs of Innocence
-Lord Byron: Child Harold’s Pilgrimage
-John Keats: Lamia and other poems
-William Wordsworth: The Major Works