Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Travellers' Travails

Not that I would wish the travails currently being experienced by travellers to and from Britain and Europe on anyone, but maybe there is a silver lining to those ash filled clouds produced by that volcano in Iceland.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it will make people a little less irritatingly blase about the immense privilege of travel. Perhaps it will show them that it is no small thing to travel to and enjoy other lands and that the world is not a theme park but a big, wonderful and sometimes awful place.

Saturday, 10 April 2010


If August is a wicked month, a seductress who holds out the promise of all sorts of sweet and sensual delights, then April is as poignant as a child alone in the street.

During the course of the month, the winter, in all its barrenness, is such a recent memory that an extra piquancy is lent to our yearnings for better times ahead.

April is the green shoot of hope that we must cling to if summer is to be a real possibility.

Friday, 9 April 2010

What Is Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Ear Ring Really Thinking?


"Listen, lady, listen",
I cried.
"It sings in my ear"
and in my head
The Orient shimmered.
His gift was exquisite
a world unto itself.
powerful with secrets, it shone,
and whole worlds
danced before us
in the pearl gleam.

Amused, my lady placed
the ring in my ear
and I stood
among the beauties and mysteries,
a servant girl,
recorded in the pearl glow,
adding gratefully
to its silent wisdom.
And sparkling seas
that flow out
to strange, unknowable lives
passed before my eyes.

my lady, though rich
and handsome,
is spoiled and bored,
without the wit to understand,
the value of the gift
love lays in her hand.

John R. Nicoll.