Dec 5, 2012

Have you seen Marie?

[Afterword, ‘Have you Seen Marie?’ by Sandra Cisneros 2012]

‘In Mexico they say when someone you love dies, a part of you dies with them. But they forget to mention that a part of them is born in you – not immediately, I’ve learned, but eventually, and gradually. It’s an opportunity to be reborn.

Born Yesterday

[Born Yesterday by Philip Larkin]

Tightly-folded bud,
I have wished you something
None of the others would:

Mar 16, 2011

Guide to Dying

[Excerpt from The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide]

There was no way to describe the waiting for death. Pre-mortal? 'Dying' was not good enough. It was both too broad and too precise. For a start we are all dying, all our lives, from the moment of birth.

Jan 16, 2011

After Our Wedding

After Our Wedding by Yehoshua Nobember courtesy of YMB

When you forgot the address of our hotel
in your suitcase,
the driver had to pull over
in front of the restaurant.

Jan 13, 2011

The Gourmet

[Excerpt] from ‘The Gourmet’ by Muriel Barbery 2009

‘I have always attributed the success and magic of my grandmother’s good-natured, tasty cooking to her easy temperament and southern sensuality. I even thought at times that it was her stupidity and lack of education and culture that had made her an accomplished cook,

May 5, 2010

We live in deeds, not years

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths by Philip James Bailey

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest:
Lives in one hour more than in years do some
Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.
Life's but a means unto an end; that end,
Beginning, mean, and end to all things—God.
The dead have all the glory of the world.

Mar 5, 2010

Alarming Ignorance

“Nine people out of ten in this country are ignorant heathens. I do not so much mind the heathendom, but the ignorance is really alarming.”

Dorothy Sayers, widely known for her detective fiction… was asked in the 1940s to write a letter to ‘average people’

Mar 4, 2010

Any Grand Poets Left?

Excerpt from ‘Nadezhda Mandelstam: A visit’ by Bruce Chatwin 1989

… when I pulled out three jars of my mother’s Seville orange marmalade, she stubbed out the cigarette and smiled.

‘Thank you, my dear. Marmalade, it is my childhood.’

Ruthless Trust

Excerpts collated from Mere Christianity by C S Lewis and Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning.

All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible.

Dec 3, 2009

Someone Who Eats Heart

Never Offer Your Heart to Someone Who Eats Heart by Alice Walker

Never offer your heart
to someone who eats hearts
who finds heart meat
but not rare
who sucks the juices
drop by drop

Nov 25, 2009

Guns, Germs and Steel

[Excerpt] by Jared Diamond courtesy of CC

Don't words such as 'civilization' and phrases such as 'rise of civilization' convey the false impression that civilization is good, tribal hunter-gatherers are miserable, and history for the past 13,000 years has involved progress toward greater human happiness?

Nov 9, 2009

the murders

[Excerpt] from The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe courtesy of Yiwonda Banda

'The mental features discoursed of as analytical, are, in themselves, but little susceptible of analysis. We appreciate them only in their effects. We know of them, among other things, that they are always to their possessor, when inordinately possessed, a source of the liveliest enjoyment.

Nov 4, 2009

stories of eva luna

[Excerpt] from Prologue by Rolf Carle in 'The Stories of Eva Luna' by Isabel Allende

You think in words; for you, language is an inexhaustible thread you weave as if life were created as you tell it.

I think in the frozen images of a photograph. Not an image on a plate, but one traced by a fine pen, a small and perfect memory with the soft volumes and warm colours of a Renaissance paainting, like an intention capturesd on grainypaper or cloth.


[Excerpt] by Andrea Vorlaufer, in 'My Other Life' by Paul Theroux

'Lovely,' she said, seeing that I had filled the glasses. 'I won't say no. Is it champers? Crikey!'

Every word of hers was her own and I saw that there was no one like her in the world, and that we had a special language of precious cliches,

great expectations

[Excerpt] by Charles Dickens (courtesy of Yiwonda Banda)

Pip: 'You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since - on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets.

Sep 13, 2009

still i rise

by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Jul 16, 2009

african on thursday

Excerpt from 'Elizabeth Costello' by J.M Coetzee (courtesy of Yiwonda Banda) and discussion...

"When we Africans visit great European cities like Paris and London, we notice how people on trains take books out of their bags or their pockets and retreat into solitary worlds. Each time the book comes out it is like a sign held up. Leave me alone, I am reading says the sign. What I am reading is more interesting than you could possibly be.

Jul 12, 2009


by R.S. Thomas

And to one God says: Come
to me by numbers and
figures; see my beauty
in the angles between
stars, in the equations
of my kingdom. Bring
your lenses to the worship
of my dimensions: far
out and far in, there
is always more of me

Jun 29, 2009

living with chickens

by Anthony De Mello

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled.

Jun 10, 2009

touched by an angel

by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight

May 12, 2009

'bad people'

by Martin Luther 1483 - 1546

The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies.

And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the 'bad people' but the devout people.

life together

Excerpt by Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1954

Human love has little regard for truth. It makes the truth relative, since nothing, not even the truth, must come between it and the beloved person.

Apr 29, 2009

the forger

[Excerpt] by Paul Watkins

‘Heres the thing, about Valya and me,’ he said. ‘You know how it is when there are beautiful people all around, but their beauty does nothing to you.’

Apr 15, 2009

eden close

[Excerpt] by Anita Shrieve

your hands erase the memory of others.
a part of you is inside me, and I will always have that.

Apr 7, 2009

i believe in frogs

I see them, watching from the sidelines, spectators! Tolerant of all views. Interested in all faiths. Open to new suggestions, they earnestly explore all ideas, fairly, without bias; but somehow their research never arrives at a conclusion.

Mar 21, 2009

eat, pray, love

[Excerpt] by Elizabeth Gilbert

“… I think the reason it’s so hard for me to get over him is because I seriously believed George was my soul mate.”

Mar 18, 2009

i arise today

by Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the three-ness,
Through the confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

Jan 19, 2009

the sacred journey

[Excerpt] by Frederick Buechner 1982

memory is more than a looking back to a time that is not longer; it is a looking out into another kind of time altogether where everything that ever was continues not just to be, but to grow and change with the life that is in it still.

Jan 15, 2009

each in his own tongue

[Excerpt] by William Herbert Carruth

A fire-mist and a planet,--
A crystal and a cell,--
A jelly-fish and a saurian,
And caves where the cave-men dwell;
Then a sense of law and beauty,
And a face turned from the clod,--
Some call it Evolution,
And others call it God.

Dec 17, 2008

spaces in togetherness

by Khalil Gibran

Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone,

Dec 7, 2008

i know you love me

by Henry Nouwen

What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is to allow the other person not to be God. Forgiveness says, "I know you love me, but you don't have to love me unconditionally, because no human being can do that."

We all have wounds. We all are in so much pain. It's precisely this feeling of loneliness that lurks behind all our successes,

Nov 30, 2008

captain corelli's mandolin

[Excerpt] by Louis de Berniers

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.

Oct 23, 2008

a woebegone weakling

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (in prison)

Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,

Aug 19, 2008

the hound of heaven

[Excerpt] By Francis Thompson 1859–1907

Now of that long pursuit 155
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
‘And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me! 160

Mar 3, 2008

some country

by michael phoya...

my Malawi is some country. strange it has taken me all these years to figure that out. and I want it. I want it all. just to feel it. to feel the simplicity and originality of the life. the timelessness feeling. the lack of hastiness. the hunger. the poverty. the dry seasons. the wet seasons.

Mar 17, 2007