Cultural fragmentation and the collapse of authority in Western democracies

During the week I was discussing with a young colleague at work the preparation of a briefing. I gave them some guidance and some encouragement: the briefing did not need to be long, but the words ought to be carefully selected and focussed on what was most important. After all, I said, "Brevity is the... Continue Reading →

Advertisements

Cantos from a cage

What thou lovest well remains,                                                   the rest is dross What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage Whose world, or mine or theirs                                             or is it of none? First came the seen, then thus the palpable... Continue Reading →

A thousand thanks

Some time in the last couple of weeks the counter on my wordpress visitor stats clocked over one thousand. So this is a short post to say thank you to all those readers - presumably not one thousand readers, but one thousand visitors. When I commenced this blog back in July 2015 - nearly three... Continue Reading →

Fragments on tradition

Today's cultures are both disintegrating and proliferating. Any writer has to hand the near infinite profusion of symbolic thought of every culture across history. They are there to be used with the simplicity of an internet search. But their readiness-to-hand does not make them vital traditions, but cut and paste decorations of the modern soul... Continue Reading →

Regaining time

The other evening, I pulled from the shelf the sixth and last volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, or to use the Scott-Moncrieff translation, still evocative across the Anglophone countries with their Shakespearean heritage, Remembrance of Things Past. This volume, Finding Time Again, in the awkward 2002 translation of Ian Patterson, or... Continue Reading →

Poem: the tethered mind

The tethered mind The mind prowls, tethered to its past. An unknown unknown rises from An unclaimed grave of awkward glances. The waves come for the fallen swimmer Again and again. They roll fast. They suck his feet into the undertow. A macadamia tree in a shadowed grove, Where dreams were made, Rots and blackens,... Continue Reading →

Elegy

A little under two weeks ago my mother died. I gave the eulogy at her funeral, and have composed this elegy as a way of working through the grief. Elegy There is no world but this one, Yet we are incomplete; Left stranded and voiceless When the anima disappears in the sea. Helplessly, we cry... Continue Reading →

Cultural collapse: Delhi 1857

"This whole city has become a desert." Ghalib 1861 William Dalrymple's The Last Mughal: the Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857 is a great tragedy, and its fallen hero is the culture of the Mughal court. Under Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II (1775-1862), the Mughal court and Delhi society experienced a cultural renaissance of sorts.... Continue Reading →

Poem: peaches in a bowl

Today, a poem composed on the day of my daughter's departure to study in Europe for five months. Peaches in a bowl There it stands The Indian metal bowl Silver outside Burnt orange and black streaks Glossed in its basin Inside arranged with care Each sticker taken from the skin Eight peaches and five nectarines... Continue Reading →

The reenchantment of the world

This morning I feel stuck for words. A heat wave has exhausted me, and the end of my holidays looms. To regather my strength I have been reading over old posts, old poems, and contemplating what keeps me going on. From the movie The Darkest Hour a quote from Churchill (although its provenance is challenged)... Continue Reading →

Return of a King

Image credit: Elizabeth Butler, Remnants of an Army  (1879) Tate Gallery I have finished reading William Dalrymple's mesmerising and tragical history of the first Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42), Return of a King: the battle for Afghanistan. It tells the story of the British invasion of Afghanistan, or, as it was known by its local rulers then,... Continue Reading →

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑