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Is it possible to appreciate fully Dante’s work without understanding the man himself and the society in which he lived?
In the 1840s Henry David Thoreau swapped his busy schedule in Concord, Massachusetts, for a wooden hut he built himself near Walden Pond. We had the privilege to visit Walden, five years ago, in July 2012; it exceeded expectations in its tranquility and beauty - and the swim in the pond itself was unforgettable.
In 1883, Antoni Gaudí began working on the Sagrada Família in Barcelona and before his death managed to complete the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity facade. Work slowed during the 1930s and 40s, then picked up again in the 1950s and a series of architects carried on Gaudí’s work, completing new towers and facades.
"So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear."
You tried, in your way, to be free. Thank you. Now go join that great gig in the sky.
'We Love Leonard Cohen' celebrated his 81st Birthday, and then, for his 82nd and final birthday, Leonard gave us a present. "You Want It Darker" is the title track to last album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. (See also Leonard Cohen Makes it Darker.)
"Leonard Cohen offers the possibility of living with grace, dignity, and integrity, without submitting to illusions, without succumbing to indifference, and without indulging in denial of our own failures and flaws, in a world that is too often corrupt and malevolent" - Allan Showalter
"See Pan the Piper dancing in the greenwood dawn...Earth, Water, Fire, Air, dancing round the Maypole...at Beltane", light a Beltane fire, high on the skyline" - from Ancient Dream, Aeolian Songspell
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issues an annual report concerning the approximately 21 million people worldwide falling under its mandate: refugees forced to leave their countries due to war, political, racial or religious persecution, as internally displaced persons, or as repatriates on their way back home. An interactive visualisation gives an insight into the flows and connections of global flight and expulsion.
As Western populations live ever longer, they will need more nurses, care assistants, housekeepers and cleaners. The demand for highly skilled workers will therefore grow too, and countries will start to compete more fiercely for mobile talent. Migration will “define our future” , claimed the authors of a recent book.
T.S. Eliot died over 50 years ago now. His legacy remains profound and his poetry moves me deeply.
In August 2016 I had the privilege of visiting his final resting place, East Coker.
I listen to the peerless Little Gidding at least once a quarter, sometimes more often, and almost every line entrances, as if peering through a veil at something once known, but half-forgotten because not looked-for.