A postscript on Utopia

Coincidentally - a word that tricks chance into being fate - I was reading this week Maria Popova's account of Wisława Szymborska's celebration of not knowing. Szymborska said, in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, that it is from the humility of not knowing that inspiration comes - in any profession, not merely writing: "Inspiration... Continue Reading →

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Poem: Losing my direction

This morning I have posted an old post that was caught in the wordpress software, and begged to be released, on the borderlands of madness. And a fast follow-up - this new poem on losing my direction. Losing my direction The mornings drift away now. Spikes in my hair no more. Seventeen seconds reminds me... Continue Reading →

Renovating the Burning Archive

I have spent the morning renovating the Burning Archive. A new theme changes the look and will feature more posts on the landing page so that you can sample more of my writing. I have also added several pages that gather together the main categories of my writing. My poetry collections features links to the... Continue Reading →

Craft, voice and the fire

"We all know poetry isn’t a craft that you can just turn on and off. It has to strike fire somewhere, and truth, maybe unpleasant truth about yourself, may be the thing that does that." Robert Lowell, from a letter quoted in Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character (2017) by... Continue Reading →

Poem: Snow falls on the suburban plain

Here is a poem that I will before too long include in a collection titled Dr Cogito's Rebellion. Snow falls on the suburban plain. I shelter, wrapped in a library of wool. The prophecies of last winter Stand unproven before me. Was the doom of governments so sure? Did the blood-dimm’d tide swell and fall... Continue Reading →

On the history and meaning of the eight hour day

The story I told in this article still has resonance for me. It was a story about how, even in the apparently material conditions that defined work and industrial conflict, the meaning of events were inseparable from the striving for recognition and the webs of significance that we, culture-making beings, weave through the time of our lives.

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 →

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