Tuesday, June 01, 2010

On writing

I dreamt last night that I was walking amongst some empty landscape. On the ground, as a far as the eye could see, there were books and papers and journals, pictures and paintings and pieces of music. Layer upon layer, some collected in piles or stacked up neatly, some torn or burnt at the edges. It was a misty place and completely silent. I was only able to walk slowly, as, in the absence of a path, I wasn't sure where to walk and didn't want to damage the papers under my feet. To begin with I explored each and every text or image, agonising over who they may be, looking for names or handwriting that I might recognise that might make me feel less alone. In some way every sheet looked familiar, everyone appeared to be a person that I might have known, perhaps a map even, but their presence did not make me feel any less alone. I became quite downcaste. Then, feeling that I should not waste time, I began enjoying the nature of experience, scrunching leafs of paper in my hands, tearing them between my fingers, throwing piles of papers up in the air and watching them slowly descend in the gloom. This invoked feelings of elation, complete freedom. As I sat down, short of breath on a large pile of accountancy notes, I understood that absolute emptiness that I saw. I took up a long receipt that extended for metres from my hand, twisting in a large helix further than I could strain to see. I took out a black pen from my shirt pocket and began to write, anything I could think of, as many digits of pi as I could remember, the names and ages of all the people I knew, small doodles of butterflies and flowers and mothers with babies. I kept going, on and on until my hand began to cramp and the ink in the pen became faint. Then I lay down and covered myself with the sheets of an old newspaper, reading on the sheets nearest to me that Marilyn Monroe will marry Arthur Miller and that Red Army troops have invaded Hungary, before falling back to sleep.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Not deserving of a title

Sometimes when I sit down with myself, to write or try to read, there is a feeling that when all the business, in the sense of busy-ness, is taken away, when completely alone, there is really nothing there. There is no voice to talk to amongst myself. There is nothing within to make me smile or push me forward. Strange, considering that looking on I'm sure it looks that I'm an entirely sensible, well-travelled, well-educated(ish) kind of person. It's hard to really understand that however you're feel at this moment isn't how you've always felt, and it isn't how you will always feel; that even in ten minutes time someone may come into the room and you'll have completely changed course. Not in an insincere way, not that you're trying to seem like a cheery amenable person. Just that you only exist when someone is there. Even now it doesn't seem reasonable to have had all the thoughts that have led to these words without any conscious conversation, just with them spilling out from some void. It really is peculiar.

Monday, May 03, 2010

When Keats is close.

When I have fears that I may cease to be well.
Well, I will cease to be,
Cease to be well.
I will cease.

When I think of all that I could have been doing.
When could I have been all that?
I think I could have been.
I think of all.

When I think of all the pain that I have caused you.
All that pain when I think of you.
I have that pain.
I have you.

Now I know of the time that slips away from us all.
Time I know now, slips away.
Now away from All.
I know now.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


There once was a man
As I’m sure you well know
A man who emitted the brightest blue glow

He lived in a house
Number 475
All on his own without children or wife

On Sundays you’d see him
As he strolled of a morn
Along the streets lit with flaming argon

But he’d not say a word
Just tipped up his hat
Which was always in navy and never in black

Then one day he reached a house
Not seen before
Such peculiar hues from the windows and door

Not cobalt or teal
Nor indigo also
But some strange sultry sunset of what form he did not know

He stood for a while
Then rapped on the door
And there on the threshold appeared a beauty so pure

That he turned rather pale
A blue like the sea
And stumbled for words to say how she could be

Such a colour as rosebuds
In the first light of day
And nostalgic memories of frolicking play

He looked quite so ill
That she grew rather anxious
And invited him in with a welcome so pious

That he loved her that moment
And could think nothing else
For the light she reflected was Beauty itself.

So soon were they married
Without a moments postponement
Twas aft that they realised of colour’s importance

For he was a blue man
And his wife was quite amber
And many a friend asked him why he did choose her

But regardless of time
The same answer did come
She’s the colour of saffron, she’s my beautiful sun

Regardless of reverence
His friends did persist
‘You’ll be the father of clowns’ they heckled and hissed

Twas true that a child
Borne of yellow and blue
Had never been seen, had never been knew

But what did that matter
What did that mean
Should a child be not loved if they come out as green?

And so it was true
On a warm summer’s morn
A beautiful apple-green baby was born

And how she was loved
Their precious sweet pea
And how she did growan into quite a young beauty

Was then that his friends
Did have to concede
That although an unusual plant they did seed

What grows with dear love
No matter of hue
Will surely be beautiful, worthy and true

Sunday, March 28, 2010

שפה יפה

So there's slow but steady progress with the hebrew (and other things) here. Actually it's nearly time to go home!

שפה יפה - safa yafa - a beautiful language

שָׂפָה - safa - also means tongue

לְסַפֵּר סִפּוּר - l'sapa sipoor - to tell a story

So I know I haven't been using my tongue so much to tell any stories, but honest, I promise, I'll have it down here in no time.

חַג שַׂמֵחַ
(happy cracker time!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I'm living in Jerusalem at the moment and trying simultaneously to understand the ins and outs of Acanthamoeba genomics and master Hebrew.

Whilst here it seemed a good idea to dig a little deeper into some of the words being learning, perhaps see some patterns, draw some insight, and maybe even remember them for longer than it takes to say 'how do you say such and such again'. Ah the joys of short-term cognitive impairment.

To this end, we shall begin with the first word: קָדִימָה (ca-dee-ma). It means forward. The reason that this word was necessary will become apparent. For now more about the word. Hebrew is nice in the that the roots of the words reflect the underlying meaning. Thus, from קדמ (c-d-m) we can form מִתקַדֵם (mit-ca-dem) meaning advances, progressive or liberal thinking, קְדוֹמַנִי (ca-do-ma-ni), meaning predecessor or foregoer, קִדמִי (cad-mi) meaning anterior.

And so to going forward. I've been here nearly a week now, with a home to go to still an outstanding issue, but there's a lot to do, a lot to see, and an awful lot to learn.