Monthly Archives: January 2012

There’s nothing like a cuppa

If you are cold, tea will warm you;

 if you are too heated, it will cool you;

 if you are depressed, it will cheer you;

 if you are excited, it will calm you.”

(William Gladstone)

Thank God for tea, that’s all I can say. Gladstone surely hits the nail upon the head when he lists its therapeutic credentials. A drink that refreshes, stimulates, calms, awakens, revitalises, intensifies, sharpens, assuages, encourages and inspires is surely one that should be commended. And how heartening to hear that tea should be cherished as an excellent means to spice up one’s sex life. Tea and sex are surely two of life’s more pleasurable pursuits. Therefore, it only feels right that they make pleasant bedfellows.

My own take on this exquisite beverage is that it is the perfect restorative. Whilst sipping, one can meditate upon what has happened, what is and what’s to be. In a nutshell, tea is very Zen. It doesn’t matter if the day be young or old, the weather shivering or sultry, the prospects dire or delightful, for the cup, once poured, exudes a glory that gladdens the heart, oils the mind and salves the soul. Ben Jonson, once wrote of Shakespeare, that he was ‘a man for all seasons’. I like to think that if he had written a panegyric to tea he would have extolled that it was ‘a drink for all seasons’.

It’s true, there’s nothing quite like it. I confess, I am a shameless tea-drinker, like countless others. A life without tea would be like a life without cheese, desperately sad. Perhaps the final word should go to one of tea’s most famous aficionados, utterly shameless in his appreciation, the inimitable Samuel Johnson:

Tea’s proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those  who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence

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Notes on Walking

Walking is alive

Walking is a jive

Walking creates

New impressions

Walking washes

Away transgressions

Walking is thinking

Walking is drinking

Walking is not caring

Walking is repairing

Walking is liberating

Most exhilarating

Walking frees the mind

Walking is most kind

Walking is a fillip

Walking lifts the spirit

Walking energises

And always surprises

 

Walking hits the senses

Walking freshly cleanses

Walking is refinement

It needs no confinement

Walking releases good chi

Helpful with some tea

Walking expands the self

No need for tawdry pelf

Walking is reality

Walking is vitality

Walking is a dream

Walking lets you scream

Walking is a passion

With its own steady fashion

Walking is a slow dance

Kindling the eager branch

Walking is a wonder

The opposite of slumber

 

Walking is motion

Exuding sweet emotions

Walking is an essence

A heady, creative presence

Walking is a journey

That needs no attorney

Walking is humane

Walking counters pain

Walking is an antidote

Walking helps to scope

Walking is observing

Walking is forever learning

Walking is a quest

Ready to be blessed

Walking is a song

Soothing every wrong

 

 

Walking stirs the soul

Walking fills the hole

Walking fires the heart

Walking is the part

Walking is solitary

Walking is exploratory

Walking is communion

Walking is reunion

Walking is a spur

Walking makes one purr

Walking is bliss

Walking is a kiss

Walking is a jive

Walking is alive

 

 

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Filed under Poetry

Leonard Cohen, a troubadour for our times

Leonard Cohen’s new album, “Old Ideas” is due for release on the 31st January. This is enough to set the pulse racing. Indeed just looking at the Track List brings a smile to my face, with song titles like Crazy to Love You and Come Healing destined to strike a chord. As an appetiser, you can watch and listen to this delightful lyric video for Show Me The Place and sample the haunting beauty of Darkness, which will enchant the weary heart. Like all great writers, Cohen’s words transcend time, giving voice to universal themes: love, longing, desire, death, freedom, jealousy, man’s inhumanity to man and the quest for meaning in an often senseless world. The genius is in the wry wisdom that comes from a cumulative well of experience, reflection and observation. The strength of any artist is surely their back catalogue and since he dazzled the world with his debut album, “Songs of Leonard Cohen” in 1967, L.Cohen hasn’t failed in his quest to enlarge the minds, hearts and souls of his myriad followers.

The words “greatness” and “legend” are tossed around too freely today. Yet “Laughing Len” fully justifies the tag of living legend. I was fortunate to see him perform, twice, in 2008 at the O2 arena in London. Ever the master craftsman, consummate performer and bard of mordancy, rolled into one, this poet of the night soon had the audience eating from the palm of his hand. “Hello London” he growled in his rich baritone, “it’s good to be back. Last time I was here I was 60. I was just a kid with a crazy dream”. Throughout his supreme performance, Len kept on reminding us that life, despite all its vanities and crudities, is a beautiful thing and that no matter how bleak existence at times can be, “there’s a crack in everything/that’s how the light gets in”. Both nights fizzed with electrifying intimacy.

Long live Leonard Cohen. I was going to conclude that just like a vintage wine, L Cohen gets better with age. But this misses the point for this Canadian maestro was wise when he was young. Treasure this fedora-wearing lyrical icon, he is a genius.

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