/ PLACES / TRAVEL / TRADITIONS /
A blog about travel, places I love, places I've lived, and strange customs that keep us occupied the world over.
Featured so far: Tokyo, London, Berlin...
I’m going to crumple this word,
to twist it,
it’s too slick
like a big dog or a river
had been lapping it down with its tongue, or water
had worn it away with the years.
I want gravel
to show in the word,
the ferruginous salt,
the gap-toothed power
of the soil.
There must be a blood-letting
for talker and non-talker alike.
I want to see thirst
in the syllables,
in the sound;
feel through the dark
for the scream. Let
my words be acrid
as virginal stone.
- Pablo Neruda
National Poetry Day
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
William Wordsworth, “LINES WRITTEN A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR, JULY 13, 1798”, from Lyrical Ballads
A few snaps from my journey through the Wye Valley last week, and the haunting ruins of Tintern Abbey, enveloped in mist and rain.
The Great Buddha (Daibutsu) of Kamakura (near Tokyo)
O ye who treated the Narrow Way
By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,
Be gentle when “the heathen” pray
To Buddha at Kamakura!
For though he neither burns nor sees,
Nor hears ye thank your Deities,
Ye have not sinned with such as these,
His children at Kamakura,
Yet spare us still the Western joke
When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke
The little sins of little folk
That worship at Kamakura —
The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies
That flit beneath the Master’s eyes.
He is beyond the Mysteries
But loves them at Kamakura.
And whoso will, from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura.
A tourist-show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
The meaning of Kamakura?
But when the morning prayer is prayed,
Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,
Is God in human image made
No nearer than Kamakura?
- Rudyard Kipling (selected verses from ‘The Edge of the East’, 1892, collected in ‘The Five Nations’, 1903, and also used as introductory verses to his novel ‘Kim’, 1901.