Thursday, April 30, 2009

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" ~Wordsworth

Tomorrow, off to the Lake District
Inspiration for this Wordsworth poem
Away, away to Hawkshead -
an artists' dream a poet's home.



I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils

Friday, April 24, 2009

Faith

Today I wrote something for a friend who'd lost something.... While writing it down, I heard the echo of her words amidst her tears, 'Why me?

I didn't know what to tell her. I wanted to console her but I knew that nothing I said or did could get back what she lost.

It was on a white card and I wrote it on a blue felt tip pen;

"Take the first step in faith; you don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step"

~Dr. Martin Luther King~

Helpless to help the one you care for is the worst feeling in the world.

I pray for her, that was all I could do and hope those words will find it's way.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sky Burial



This book is a must-read. It's hard to describe - hopeful sadness, resolution, sacrifice, commitment - it haunted me to the very end.

*The Sky Burial is a Tibetan practice with a sacred significance. . Unlike the Zoroastroan ritual of the 'Towers of Silence' where the body is left exposed on a 'tower', the deceased in the sky burial is smashed and left for birds of prey to feed on.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sonnet 29

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself, and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,

Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least:

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee,--and then my state

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings

~William Shakespeare~

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Conversation with a Teddy Bear in the Rain



It's 7am in the morning and Teddy Bear sits dejectedly against the wall on the ground. It's raining; he's all cold and wet.


F: Hi there. Sorry to bother you but are you alright?

TB: Is this a trick question?

F: I was just wondering if you're needing any help I mean.

TB: Sorry I don't mean to be rude. But obviously its not everyday when you see someone get tossed out in the street like this. But judging from the economic conditions (ironic laugh), I'm just another contributing statistic of the unemployed.

F: I'm sorry to hear that. I can see what you mean.....You see, I'm heading off to work and the company is retrenching at the moment. So everyone at work are all sitting on pins now.

TB: Tough. It's one thing to be a statistic - but believe me when you're the one staring it in the face, no one is going to care if you've got kids to feed, or a mortgage to pay or medical bills to take care of.

But do you know what's the worst of it? It's the pain of being told that you're not good enough to stay; not worthy enough to do what you're supposed to do - it's too much to bear for my polyester heart.

(Pauses a moment)

The indignity of redundancy: that's what it is ....an indignity.

F: I really don't know what to say.

But in times like these, despite not having a job, you still have other things - two eyes, a mouth, a nose...you can still walk, you can still talk, you can move , you can do things. You can do other things and not necessarily what you were doing before.

(Pause)

TB: I suppose. But let me a moment here on my own. I need time for myself.

F: I understand. Excuse me, but I have to go; am running a bit late now (looks at watch)

TB: You go on then....oh and by the way.....

F:...yes?

TB: I'm a PANDA bear....not a teddy bear.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Anne Frank House (Amsterdam)



I saw my first copy of "The Diary of Anne Frank" among the stack of books in the backroom cupboard which my aunt left behind. Strange mementoes of her single, hazy-crazy days when she used to live with us in 16 Jln Midah Tengah in the 70's. It had a black cover and a picture of the eternally youthful Anne Frank. After a decade, she had left, married and had children of her own, but her books were left behind in the small cupboard in the backroom. Being 10, young and curious and forbidden everything, I used to dig into that backroom cupboard for memories left behind and what I found were...books. I remember 'Jaws' ...or maybe "The Exorcist"...or was it "The Pirate"...which would have driven my parents nuts if they found out I read it. Nevertheless, the Anne Frank Diary was one of the curios of my aunt's which she left behind; yellowing and feeding silverfish in that mothball-smelling cupboard.



Fast forward twenty years and I'm standing in the very house young Anne hid in. I stand before the book case showing the different publications of her diary in all its multitude of languages, colours and bindings. But yet, I don't see the publication I read twenty years back. I wondered if it is still in that backroom cupboard somewhere - hiding like Anne in the house, behind a dusty cupboard.

It's amazing how one girl's story has travelled so far and so long up till this day.

De Valk Windmill (Leiden)

"Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all"
-1870 Longfellow


Keukenhof

A burst of colour lit from the flame of God...





















Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Windmills of the Netherlands (Kinderdijk)



The windmills stood like lonely giants in the mist. Stationery and silent; sentinels guarding the polders on the plain. This was the scene that greeted M, K and I as we ventured forth; sallying forth with our cameras and the earnest hope of capturing the essence of the Netherlands.

A land where half of the nation is below sea-level; the windmills have become the bastion of the temerity and ingenuity of the Dutch in making their land liveable for centuries despite the impossible geographical conditions.





As we walked, I asked M if the Netherlands has suffered the recession to which he replied that it was less pronounced as compared to the UK (measuring in chocolate sales as this was the industry he was in). In the international front, Mr Jan Peter Balkenende's government has also faced the dilemma of pushing through a public stimulus package aimed at the Netherlands' financial industry; it being a double-edged sword meaning deteriorating state solvency and maligning public opinion by digging into public coffers for the sake of the EU-good.



Not a sound can be heard on that silent sphere except the occasional cry of a water-fowl or the splash of the boat cruising down the canal. An ominous mist hangs curiously above the ground; the windmills cast dark shadows like grazing obedient cattle over the plain. It's hard to imagine that these gentle giants have stood here for 300 years.

Nevertheless, the Dutch have lived and triumphed over the elements (1953)throughout the centuries. I believe with the same spirit too, they will rise above the economic tide.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

To be or not to be

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.