The World Is Too Much With Us - Sculpture by Giles Penny in Canary Wharf

The World Is Too Much With Us – Sculpture by Giles Penny in Canary Wharf

My dad photographed this fellow a few years ago at Canary Wharf in London and I’ve always wondered about it….It’s a sculpture by Giles Penny and it’s called ‘Man With Open Arms.’

Speaking about it, the Wharf website tells us this:

“Head thrown back and arms outstretched, the oversized figure could be in ecstasy or despair.
Giles Penny’s bronze figure stands among the trees in the centre of West India Avenue.
The sculpture prompts debate: is the man looking for inspiration, worshipping a supreme being or simply soaking up the sunshine? “

I think one of the nicest things about truly lovely works of art is that they don’t let you land anywhere – you can’t conclude. The eye can travel around the piece for years, and it doesn’t seem to end.

Sometimes, when I look at this sculpture it reminds me of a beautiful poem by William Wordsworth which starts:

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers”

William Wordsworth

You can see the full poem below, it’s lush! 

When the world is too much with me I like to meditate. And as I sit waiting patiently with my eyes closed, my mind eases up and the world loosens its grip.

Slowly I get back to whatever it is that matters most.

Other times it might not be a meditation that I turn to, but a walk in nature, tending to a houseplant, cooking a meal or reading a novel.

How about you, what do you do to regain a sense of calm? If you’re looking for inspiration you might enjoy this post about mood changing tools


The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not.—Great God!  I’d rather be

A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

— William Wordsworth, 1770 -1850
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