Showing posts from August, 2015


I am fortunate that I live in a free democratic industrialised rich Western society. My cultural inheritance is firmly rooted in the Greek and Roman civilisations. My cultural references move on through the Italian Renaissance, French Classicism, The Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the great industrial developments of the 19th century through to the scientific discoveries of the 20th century and Modernism in the arts. I am centred in this European culture and continue to enjoy its immense richness. Add to this 20th century American  literature, art and pop culture and I have everything I need.
But what about spirituality? I am not a religious person although I have been brought up with Judeo Christian values. What is it about Eastern philosophies and religions that attracts so many people? Is it down to the belief in karma, re-incarnation, enlightenment and nirvana? The promise of paradise in this life as opposed to heaven in the next? What is the appeal of Confucius' or th…


On my retreat in Devon I came across this well-known poem and felt an urge to translate it. I am the cricket and came too late to ant-like ways.

The cricket from singing all summer long
Found herself skint when the winter winds blew.
Not the smallest morsel of fly or worm did she have.
She went crying of her hunger to her neighbour the ant,
Begging for a few grains for survival until the new season came.
"I'll pay you", she said "before August, on my word,
Both interest and capital."
The ant was not a lender, the least of her faults.
"What were you doing during the long hot days?"  said she to the borrower.
"Night and day I sang for everyone, if you please."
"You sang? I am pleased. Well now you can dance!"


An exercise on my Devon retreat was to make marks on paper. Words are my medium. I don't draw or paint, I write and I read. Words are my communication, they speak to me on the page of the book and I speak in my writing. I love the act of writing, the travel of pen on paper. For art I look at what others have done, the great masterpieces of expression and impression.
Last month I saw the Pyramids in Cairo, miracles of mathematical and architectural precision, but what really spoke to me were the hieroglyphs on the surrounding wall, communication in writing across the millenia, marks carved on a wall that have survived time, weather and erosion, as old as the Pyramids but fresh to my eyes.


On my Devon retreat I was asked to find something outside in nature that spoke to me, to observe and see what it meant to me. I found a half-dead spiky old oak tree with bare branches and parasitic ivy growing on it. It was also half-alive, deep-rooted, tall, with fresh leaves, so there was some hope for the future despite the traumas and burdens that this tree had borne. I liked its spikiness.