Monthly Archives: February 2012

Celebrating World Book Night

World Book Night is happening this year on April the 23rd, designated by UNESCO as the international day of the book. This day is most befitting as not only is it the death dates of two of the world’s most celebrated writers – William Shakespeare (whose birthday it also happens to be) and Miguel Cervantes – but it is also known in Spain (specifically Catalonia) as “The Day of the Book” where traditionally men give women roses and women give men books. I know who gets the better deal here. For is there a greater gift that one can give to a beloved, family member, close friend, colleague than a book? Books divert, surprise, charm, amaze, astound, instruct, perplex ,enthuse, engage in equal measure. Books can reflect as much as they can inspire. I have always thought that our bookshelves reveal a lot about us as individuals – our likes and dislikes, interests and passions, what it is that makes us human. We are as much as what we read as what we eat. Or think for that matter.

The book itself as an object is a supreme feat of craftsmanship. Perhaps it is becoming even more cherished in the electronic age? (but that’s for another debate) World Book Night is all about celebrating the written word, spreading a love of reading per se, which is why I am delighted to have been chosen as one of several thousand booklovers who will be gifting books in their communities to mark this year’s book-giving jamboree. I have always thought that “a pint and a book” go hand-in-hand. Therefore, on the evening of Monday April 23rd I shall be frequenting a local pub in Brecon, giving away 24 copies of a collection of short stories by that most supreme of storytellers – Roald Dahl – to strangers and drinkers, locals and visitors – perhaps even acquaintances. (Am sure the great Dylan Thomas would approve).

Why not mark this fiesta of book-giving by giving a loved one a book? Am sure that he/she will be delighted. Or, give a stranger a book. You might just change someone’s life. The power of books is endless; I suppose this is their intrinsic beauty. They can stir up imaginative possibilities, console the sorrows of existence and open up the pathways of our hearts. So, go forth and spread the wonder of words. Happy World Book Night.

“We read to know we are not alone” (C.S.Lewis)

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Devotion

I kneel before you with a faithful love

unburdened like the birds that fly above;

the river gushing in a fearless flood

bathing my body, a balm for the blood.

 

Whenever storms strike and stifle life’s roar,

the mysteries you reveal say there’s more

to mechanical whispers that drag and sag;

observe, burble, exhale and feel most glad.

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Mountain Magic

The mountain is the place to be,

earth covered in a golden glow;

where worries fall away like scree

and your thoughts just go with the flow.

 

Alone, with a thermos of tea

looking at a view dazzling blue;

unshackled, like the birds set free

nature’s essence, untapped for you.

 

Come dawn or dusk the scene is fair

unlocking the mind, dreams that bind;

sparkling visions beyond compare,

a richer cure is hard to find.

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Happiness

Ah happiness, I love you. If only you could be bottled, stored in abundance and imbibed at one’s leisure. Wouldn’t this make life that little bit smoother, more seamless and easier to negotiate? On the other hand, wouldn’t a life of untrammelled bliss make existence a trifle tedious and a little insipid? For how on earth can we savour the good times unless we experience a bit of purgatory, some good old fashioned mental tension from time to time? Of course, happiness would win the battle, making victory all the sweeter.

 Why the fuss? Well it seems, more than ever, there is a huge desire to quantify it. Yet, can it be measured when it is such an elusive, relative concept, particular in its essence and perhaps somewhat indefinable “a happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature” (Seneca)

One person’s route to happiness is different to the next person. This is its beauty and why surely it is impossible to measure. It is often said that “to love and be loved is the greatest source of happiness in the world.” I couldn’t agree more. Happiness is beauty. Beauty is kindness. Kindness is happiness. To be yourself and give of yourself; this, to me, is the pith of happiness. One doesn’t expect one’s deeds to be reciprocated (if they are, then that’s wonderful). You feel happiness by committing an act of kindness, no matter how trivial it may appear to be. If happiness has an ethical dimension it is because the soul feels good when happiness prevails, “but what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads” (Albert Camus).

Perhaps the most enhancing aspect of happiness is the pleasure that it brings, overbrimming our cells with a sense of delight in life’s infinite possibilities. After all “pleasure is nature’s sign of approval” (Oscar Wilde). Happiness is joyous, is life-enhancing, is creative, is imaginative and is living. As for resilience, well that is something else altogether. It is lovely when happiness happens to us, but it is more delicious when we create it. Through simple acts, its magic percolates our mind, body and soul. Like giving a hug, smiling, dancing, helping someone in need, declaring your love. In the end, I guess, it always comes back to the L word.

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Yen for Zen

Yen for Zen

 

I yen for Zen

when will it come?

truths are elusive

like butterflies in flight.

 

I yen for Zen

is it a dream?

each day a surprise,

see how time flies.

 

I yen for Zen

will it be my master?

look deep within

patched with plasters.

 

I yen for Zen

true as a full moon;

but clouds drift by

stalking the mind.

 

I yen for Zen,

will it be green?

like nature’s cloak

springing with joy.

 

I yen for Zen,

is it too much to hope?

a shower of peace

bringing a fresh lease.

 

I yen for Zen

it’s you and my pen,

love is the glue

not beyond my ken.

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