Wednesday, July 23, 2014


My friend is doing a survey: whom would you choose as the most inspirational orator you have come across and why? Answers please!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thought of the moment

When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions.
Now onto the 12th death of the year so far...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Poem of the day

The Lady With The Sewing-Machine
Across the fields as green as spinach,
Cropped as close as Time to Greenwich,

Stands a high house; if at all,
Spring comes like a Paisley shawl — 

Patternings meticulous
And youthfully ridiculous.

In each room the yellow sun
Shakes like a canary, run

On run, roulade, and watery trill — 
Yellow, meaningless, and shrill.

Face as white as any clock's,
Cased in parsley-dark curled locks — 

All day long you sit and sew,
Stitch life down for fear it grow,

Stitch life down for fear we guess
At the hidden ugliness.

Dusty voice that throbs with heat,
Hoping with your steel-thin beat

To put stitches in my mind,
Make it tidy, make it kind,

You shall not: I'll keep it free
Though you turn earth, sky and sea

To a patchwork quilt to keep
Your mind snug and warm in sleep! 

Edith Sitwell

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Malaysia Airlines again...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris is an excellent read. The facts of the Dreyfus case which rocked France in the 1890s are beautifully presented by an array of colourful characters and the tale told is gripping: a real page turner. Emile Zola, the most famous protester of Dreyfus' innocence, died in an accident in 1902, aged 62. His friend Anatole France said this at his funeral:

"Before recalling the struggle undertaken by Zola for justice and truth is it possible for me to keep silent about those men bent on the destruction of an innocent man?...

How might I remove them from your sight when I see
Zola rising up, weak and disarmed, against them?
Can I hide their lies?
It would silence his heroic righteousness.
Can I hide their crimes?
That would conceal his virtue.
Can I silence the insults and calumnies which they have pursued?
It would silence his reward and honours.
Can I hide their shame?
It would silence his glory.
No, I will speak.
Envy him: he honoured his country and the world by a vast and a great act.
Envy him, his destiny and his heart gave out the greatest.
It was a moment of human conscience."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Grace of the day

God of goodness, who blessed our food
Keep us now in pleasant mood
Bless the cook and all who served us. 
From indigestion, Lord, preserve us.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Poem of the day

You told me, in your drunken-boasting
How once you butchered prisoners. That
was good!
I'm sure you felt no pity while they stood
Patient and cowed and scared, as
prisoners should.
How did you do them in? Come, don't
be shy:
You know I love to hear how Germans die,
Downstairs in dug-outs. "Camerad!"
they cry;
Then squeal like stoats when bombs
begin to fly.
And you? I know your record. You
went sick
When orders looked unwholesome:
then, with trick
And lie, you wangled home. And here
you are,
Still talking big and boozing in a bar.
Siegfried Sassoon (1917)
This poem was censored during the First World War