Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Alexandra leaving *

She used to be a beautiful woman: not only fair but charming and deeply intelligent. A woman you would and could never forget.

She left life early, young and radiant.

Now she is a ship, sailing the open sea. Her beloved only son commands it, and sleeps nights in her womb.


* With sounds by Leonard Cohen and words from C. P. Cavafy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I do not believe in things that transcend the laws of nature, in events that belie logic, in paranormal happenings. But I always admire beauty when I encounter it. Beauty seems to transcend, invert and subvert chaos in nature. It is a revolution, an overturning. Even in a single flower. It amazes me.

This is a miracle.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Closed cloister

Sometimes I long to retire to a monastery. Not to worship God (what do I know about Gods?) but to exist in absolute silence. To ponder. To reminisce. To dive deep inside.

Sometimes I wish there were convents dedicated to the misery and glory of Man.

But aren’t they all?

You don't have to believe in a God in order to take monastic vows.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sic transit

He was the terror of the neighborhood, the king of the strays. Male cats tried to avoid him, because he always tore them to pieces. Until one day he appeared with one half of his face missing - actually hanging down. I thought he would die. But after a week he appeared again with a part of his face still bleeding and protruding as a mask. The outer part was healing but the inside is still raw meat.

When he was healthy, I chased him away - now I am feeding him. He is too wild, he cannot be caught and taken to a vet. I still do not know if he will survive.


Today, April 21, I saw him again after 10 days. He is still alive but from the picture you can see his state. Different organs are hanging from the still open wound. He does not seem to notice. He is moving around and has a very healthy appetite!


After an absence of many weeks, he was seen again on May 19 - the scars are there, but almost healed. Verily, they have nine lives!


July 20. He is still alive - but not kicking. He has become almost tame and gentle. At times his scar is still bleeding, but he seems OK.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A soothing cup of tea

In my thirties, as a businessman, I drank coffee. But as soon as I retired (very early) I chose tea. It is good company for a writer. I love tea - all kinds of it, from classic Darjeeling and Ceylon, to jasmine and green tea. Plus the wild varieties nature offers - down to the most soothing: sage and chamomile infusion.

How do I understand Dr. Samuel Johnson when he described himself:

"A hardened and shameless tea drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with his tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning".

Well said, back in 1757!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tod und Verklärung

I am not referring to the tone poem by Richard Strauss (Death and Transfiguration) but to an incident I experienced last night. After reading for half an hour in bed, I shut down the light and tried to sleep. But instead of descending into oblivion, I felt a wave of discomfort covering me. Nausea, shortness of breath, a sinking feeling… I thought I was going to vomit. This indisposition grew and grew – no pain but distress, which culminated in anxiety. No other symptoms, no manifestations. Just an immense nausea, all pervading.

It was not a dream or a nightmare. I was ill - but even the doctor could not help.

I do not know how long it took to subside. I fell asleep. In the morning I was OK – but somewhat worn, as if I had taken a beating.

Life goes on. Small deaths until the big one.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Poppies or weeds?

More than swallows, poppies are for me the symbols of spring. As long as I do not see these red dots in the landscape, spring remains an abstraction.

P. S. Ten minutes after I photographed them with my cell phone (mobile for Europeans) they were no more. The gardener came and started weeding.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Darkness with a small moon

Some people live in order to destroy. As long as this blog was unknown, it was left alone. Then one day it tired of silence and solitude and went out in the world. Its happiness lasted three days. The fourth it was filled by noise, extraneous interference. It had to erect a protective wall, activate moderation and erase 25 comments.

I am sorry. I did my best to be discreet, to write low key personal posts in order not to offend, not to provoke. I will try to continue, although now it is less fun.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Slow but...

...always on time.

Every morning I open the shutters, I am greeted by this turtle (or is it the other one? Sometimes I see two). This time I photographed it with my mobile and send the shot - and text - directly to the blog.

Be your day as persistent as the turtle's.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wet birds, singing

It rained all day and all night. Constantly.

"... the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up , and the windows of heaven were opened. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth;"

So much of Noah's Flood. But even here it came to pass that after twenty four hours of heavy rain, dawn came and the birds started twittering and singing.

Wet and soaked they were, damp, moist, dank, humid, sodden, saturated, sopping, but their voices loud as ever, rain or no rain.

I said to myself - do as the birds. Their song never wanes.

This blog was started in absolute emptiness. Six months it persisted as a monologue, a soliloquy, an exercise in loneliness and silence.

Now the loneliness is gone and the silence broken. But the blog will continue in its solitary ways. Because it was conceived as an inward stream, flowing in the dark.

It could revert to quietness.

Or, as the drenched birds, it may sing, come rain or come shine.

Friday, April 4, 2008


April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Greeks called her Persephone. She is the Goddess of spring, leaving every year her dark chambers in Hades to bring flowers and fertility to mortals.

This was a difficult winter. I spent most of my time in the realms of sickness - adjoining the halls of Pluto. Until one day the lilac and the cherry tree bloomed in front of my window. The daughter of Demeter (or Ceres) had another spring in store for me.

Once more I recalled the fateful verses from the beginning of The Waste Land. My copy bears the date 1952. For fifty six years I cannot separate April from Eliot.