Following Different Paths

Reading can lead to interesting journeys – journeys of the mind that is. Recently, I’ve taken a rather challenging trail that began with Gilgamesh -both Stephen Mitchell’s translation and the earlier, Penguin Classics version by Andrew George. This meant that I became fascinated by the earlier story of Adam & Eve so I moved  on to Stephen GreenBlatt’s book  The Rise and Fall of Eve and also Irving Finkel’s  The Ark before NoahDecoding the Story of the Flood

After reading Fictions by Borges I am now looking for more on Schopenhauer. It’s like finding so many different paths up mountains – you explore one which leads to another and onto another. Some paths are abandoned, others are easier than those more challenging and take a while to master, may lead to retracing steps more than once – the journey getting slightly easier as you become more familiar with the terrain.

When reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses, I was interested to read poems that had been inspired by all the stories and even started to work on one of my own, but that will be left for later… I leave you now with this photo of a path which presents a physical, not mental challenge.



Remember the Power of Now

I’ve just been reading Dan Pederson’s piece The Chase where he writes –Life can’t always be about getting somewhere. At some point it has to be about now. At some point now has to be okay. Otherwise it never will be. We’ll just keep chasing a fantasy, an ideal version of life, an imaginary place in the future where everything is the way we want it to be.

Sometimes we need reminding of the importance of ‘now’. It’s all too easy to get tied up in worrying about the future, regretting things that happened or didn’t happen in the past. If we do this then we can’t be making the most of the ‘now’.  We can’t know what the future holds for us or how many more ‘now’ moments we’ll have.

Eckhart Tolle wrote a bestselling book The Power of Now and also A New Earth. It’s always worth finding time among the busyness of life to read. These I read some years ago.

Just now I’m discovering the wisdom in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass – watch this space …

But we do need to take time out to just ‘be’ in the moment. Sometimes a beautiful sky can make us stop, empty our minds of ‘to do’ lists and drift …


Amor Fati

Amor Fati

Not  love of the obese

but an embrace of fate.

Nietzsche quoted, not

by me, but by Kate.

Amor fati, it sticks

in my mind, these found

wise nuggets,

captured not mined.

A short and sweet

maxim, difficult to keep.

Embrace the good and bad,

life delivers at your feet

so easy to say, but not to keep.

Amor fati.

Amor fati – found in the novel by Kate Atkinson ‘Life After Life’

Kate Atkinson isn’t the only one to have quoted amor fati. I came across it again when reading Richard Holloway’s latest book Waiting for the Last Bus, Reflections on Life and Death. This book, like much of his writing, is thought provoking and inspiring. In addition to Nietzsche*, Richard Holloway quotes extensively from many writers and philosophers. Have you ever read a book that you hesitate to lend to anyone because you don’t want to part with it? Then you’ll know the feeling I have about this one. I just want to make a bulk buy for some of my closest friends!

You’ll find the following in Waiting for the Last Bus on p150

* ‘…I hope I have enough time left at the table to get better at what Nietzsche called amor fati, love of the fate I was dealt, the life that wove itself on the loom, the person I was.’

What a man he is – and thankfully, he’s still writing.

NB Look for amor fati in Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo II


Fishing for Poets

My love of poetry dates back to my years in Victoria Junior school Barrow -in Furness. In the third and fourth year, I was fortunate to have a teacher who introduced us to a great deal of poetry – some of which we learnt by heart.

He made me aware of how a few words could conjure up fantastic images. At ten years old, my ambition was clear – I wanted to be an author. I wasn’t sure what I would write, but I knew that words were going to play a major part in my life. I’d always loved reading; books were always top of my Christmas and birthday wish list (and still are!), but writing as well as reading became another addiction. To begin with I wrote stories, then poetry gradually took over and latterly I found I was also drawn towards writing monologues and short plays.

But it all started with a certain teacher …

Fishing for Poets

You stand, hunched in peat brown water,

old and ragged but with piercing eyes.

You remind me heron, of a teacher

who, years ago, gifted me love of  poetry.

Mr Smith, a common name for

that very uncommon man.

His fine grey hair, slicked down

but flicked out at the back.

His blue-grey tweed jacket

topped long grey flannelled legs.

His head, twisting on a slender neck,

fought restrictions of stiff collar and tie

while his amber eyes sought out

the wrigglers and the dreamers.

Fastening their attention,

he pierced hearts with words

and fished for imagination.

A version of this poem was first published as ‘Heron’ in Markings magazine.