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Halcyon actively monitors change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on social media in early 2024 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in early 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site in the coming months.

Arts

On Books

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Above and beyond the (too?) many unread volumes I already have, there are many other books that I'd still like to read, given sufficient life and leisure, including the following:

On Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

 

I guess I've been aware of Walt Whitman as an American national icon since I was at university, and have long admired what I may be his most famous poem, I Sing the Body Electric.

It's probably been said many times before, and much more profoundly, and studied and dissected, but the poet's words do indeed seem to crackle with electricity, with vitality, with what Robert Pirsig called in Lila, "dynamic quality". This is a celebration of connecting, of being alive.

"Examine these limbs, red, black, or white—they are so cunning in tendon and nerve; 

They shall be stript, that you may see them. 

On Dante

Dante

 

Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" is an epic poem written in the early 14th century, divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

  1. Inferno:

    • Dante finds himself lost in a dark forest and guided by the Roman poet Virgil.
    • The pair descends through the nine circles of Hell, each representing different sins and their corresponding punishments.
    • Notable figures from history and mythology are encountered, and Dante learns about the consequences of sin.
    • Satan resides at the centre of Hell, and Dante and Virgil eventually climb down Satan's body to reach the other side of the Earth.
  2. Purgatorio:

On Music

Music

 

Indigenous peoples who have never even listened to the radio can nonetheless pick up on happy, sad, and fearful emotions in Western music. A studied suggested that the expression of emotions is a basic feature of Western music, whereas in other musical traditions, music has traditionally more often been appreciated for other qualities, such as group coordination in rituals.

On Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas

 

As we pass the 70th anniversary of Dylan Thomas' death - or rather his work - has remained dear to me, one way of another, for nearly 40 years, from his poems, through the biographies I consumed at Edinburgh and subsequently, a profile on Great Lives and an excellent BBC commentary on Under Milk Wood.

During a guided "green meditation" in the summer of 2023, while focusing my attention on the beauty of a nearby plant, I was reminded of Thomas' The force that through the green fuse drives the flower.

On Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche

 

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star - Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Ah, Nietzsche. Always so fashionable, always so little understood and even so little read, although the young man I vaguely remember being enjoyed Beyond Good and Evilin which he argues that the good person is not the opposite of the evil person; good and evil, rather, are different expressions of the same nature, which bubble to the surface by complex and nuanced currents of potentiality and choice.

On Films

Film

 

My favourite films (text credits below to Far Out magazine), include the following:

All That Jazz (to follow)

 

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975)

On Poetry

Poetry

 

I share below (without comment...which is a personal act that belongs in the real, not the virtual world), an evolving, far from exhaustive, but from an emotional point-of-view, highly illustrative and authentic selection of my favourite poetry and lyrics...

 

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And it's a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace
And a wound that will never heal

- from Tom Traubert's Blues, by Tom Waits

 

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(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift

The Uses of Sorrow, by Mary Oliver