January 2014


Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes,
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies. (more…)

New York was an inexhaustible space, a labyrinth of endless steps, and no matter how far he walked, no matter how well he came to know its neighbourhoods and streets, it always left him with the feeling of being lost. Lost, not only in the city, but within himself as well. Each time we took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, the world was outside of him, around him, before him, and the speed with which it kept changing made it impossible for him to dwell on any one thing for very long. Motion was the essence.

Stop transferring poetry into dream;
know how to see it into reality.

Dudley from the Castle keep
looks like a town by Kokoshka,

one town excited
by plural perspectives (more…)

More instruments ring these walls than raised a roof
for God througout all medieval Christendom;
stone arcades spring like dancers from the Minster floor,
keyed to their lord’s calling-on song ‘Da Mihi Manum’. (more…)

When I reflect on my journeys throughout the world, which have gone on for so long now, it sometimes strikes me that the most troubling problems were not so much borders and front lines, or the exertion and the danger, as the constantly recurring uncertainty about the nature and course of my encounters with Others, with the other people I came across somewhere along the way. After all, I knew that a great deal, and at times everything, was at stake. Each of these encounters was an unknown: What would it be like? How would it unfold? What would it lead to? (more…)

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