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Past

On Dante
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Halcyon In Kal… 16 August 2017

Is it possible to appreciate fully Dante’s work without understanding the man himself and the society in which he lived?

On Sun(s)

Customer

The weird idea that Earth could be getting a second sun, at least temporarily, if Betelgeuse, one of the night sky's brightest stars, goes supernova, recalls a dream, many years ago, of climbing a ridge in the desert and seeing a dawn uncannily like this photo...

S-TWO-SUNS-large

On Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas
Halcyon In Kal… 30 July 2017

Another beautiful example of the villanelle form is Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas, a poem I first heard as a teenager, recited not by Thomas himself but by Richard Bebb, on a record of poetry in which, inter alia, he shares the reading with Richard Burton of Under Milk W

On Henry David Thoreau
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Halcyon In Kal… 26 July 2017

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.

See also:

On Incompleteness
Sagrada
Halcyon In Kal… 24 July 2017

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.

On Leonard Cohen

Customer
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"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

On Beltane
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Halcyon In Kal… 1 May 2017

"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

What's Changing? - Migration
Migration
Halcyon Impacts 24 February 2017

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.

On T.S. Eliot

Customer
East Coker

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.