It’s the season for picking grapes. Mist in the morning softens the cold And sunshine warms their skins As the shadows lengthen. Now Is a time for creation or undoing. Bulging bags of dark mystery Have swollen from spring-tight berries Once prickly with sour goodness. Ripe now with sugar, but teetering Between perfection and wind-burn, Between the mellow fruitfulness of Keats And Eliot’s dull head among windy spaces. Heavy on the branches They feel the promise of their...
pelerornke is a mental illness suffered by those living in the far North during the long Arctic winter
Egregious doesn’t have quite the same connotations as the Italian word “egregi” from which it derives
Thia is the Arabic word for grass or hay. Hashish or marijuana is often referred to as "grass" as a slang term, but the Arabic word is used as a generic botanical term as well as referring to the narcotic. The word gave its name to the medieval military group known as the Assassins who, at least according to the populist reports of the time, were drugged and then given a taste of the Islamic paradise described in the holy Quran. The story goes, once they has glimpsed the beautiful gardens and rivers running with wine, and beautiful women escorts who are always described as wide-eyed houris, they wanted more. And then more. Entranced in this way, they would do almost anything required of them as soldiers to their military leader. Hence they became Assassins, ready to go undercover whenever required and taking on the most dangerous military...
This word describes shamanic enlightenment. I first came across it in Barry Lopez's book Arctic Dreams. Shamanism is a loosely defined religion based on a belief in animism, the idea that everything is alive. As even The Economist magazine has noticed, shamanism is currently the fastest-growing religion in the UK. In the latest census, 8,000 people including myself stated it as our religion. But shamanism has ancient roots. Many people surmise that our palaeolithic ancestors practiced shamanism. But the notion is controversial, because there have never been established codes of behaviour or rigidly defined rituals associated with the...
Digging Up The Past
The dig was just as she'd said it would be: a hole in the ground. Down the edge of the hill, time slipped like a river, or hung heavily in puddles like an old coat that has been shrugged off. He was uneasy. Somehow, he'd expected more than this. After the excavation, he knew, there would be more to it — monuments on which the eye could fix, markers to orient the eye towards what had been. But there was nothing yet, just the sore on the lush hillside, and the vague scratchings the archaeologists had made, esoteric scribbles on the landscape. "They're all dope-heads, anyway," Linda had said, as if in explanation. She was sitting on a small hill a couple of hundred yards from the site, with that weary and isolating look of pregnancy. "Or alcoholics." She was due in about a month. Something was growing in her which only she could understand. Her words were esoteric scribbles, hinting at that something. She had that look of being habitually misunderstood. She was talking about human sacrifices, how certain civilisations burnt babies, she forgot who did this but it all seemed pretty pointless to have a baby, then to sacrifice it to gods who you'd invented anyway. "Pregnancy is so awful I just wish it were all over," she said, it would have been angrily if she'd had the energy. Her husband had gone to banter with the dope-heads. They were discussing post-holes, the site-layout, some bits of pottery that had been found weeks ago. It was hard to fathom quite how interested they were in these relics,...
My book habit
This was made using Sketchwow. The truth is that most of my books are there for reference. I dig them out and look into them when I need them. But it's relatively few that I read from cover to cover, and even fewer that I read again and again - mostly poetry.
To hang noodles on the ears
вешать лапшу на уши This is a Russian phrase that means something like "Don't pull my leg" or "Don't try to pull the wool over my eyes". You say it when someone tries to hood wink you and you are wise to them. It might be applicable to a politician who tries to pretend that a disastrous decision (for example, to invade a foreign country and pretend it is a special military operation to contain terrorism) was actually a political...
Tong-len is a Tibetan style of meditation in which the in-breath is associated with what you receive, and the outbreath with what you give.
Tathqeef is the transliteration of the Arabic word for culture. Most Arabic words, in common with other Semitic languages have a three letter root: in this case, THA-QA-FA.
Softer than your skin is airThat breathes the night on meThe sky a web as soft as hairI stroke — to touch, to be. Darkness bigger than this acheWhich dark in me is freePin-points of light that takeMine in their wide asymmetry. © Peter...