Death on the Track

My journey back from Hebden Bridge this past Monday was eventful. I had risen early for me, at 6:15 am, in time to get to the train station catch the 07:08 for Manchester. This part of the journey went well. I hurried from Manchester Victoria station to Manchester Piccadilly station and was just in time…

Alphonse Daudet & The Phenomenology Of Pain

  Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897), novelist, playwright, and journalist, contracted syphilis at the age of 17 years, shortly after arriving in Paris in 1857. Syphilis was the HIV of the 19th century. Literary men such as Baudelaire, Flaubert and Maupassant were all afflicted and syphilis was central to Ibsen’s Ghosts and of peripheral importance in Doll’s…

Hemingway’s Paris

In Paris, we usually stay at Hotel RASPAIL, on Bd Raspail. It is next door to Restaurant Haute Mer, an excellent seafood place at the corner of Bd Raspail and Bd Montparnasse. It is a thriving area that boasts Le Dome, another seafood place, La Coupole, La Rotonde, etc. We have been staying at Hotel…

Prayer and melancholia

That human life must be some kind of mistake is sufficiently proved by the simple observation that man is a compound of needs which are hard to satisfy; that their satisfaction achieves nothing but a painless condition in which he is only given over to boredom; and that boredom is a direct proof that existence…

Kafka’s Body

I have been in Venice this past weekend, at the Warwick Poetry in Medicine symposium. Even if you've been in Venice before, when the vaporetto comes from the Piazzale Roma onto the Grand Canal, in the bright morning sunlight, everything hangs like a Canaletto (1697-1768) canvas that is three dimensional, vast and alive. On either…

Melancholia

    Our sixth combat is with what the Greeks call ακηδια, which we may term weariness or distress of heart. This is akin to dejection, and is especially trying to solitaries, and dangerous and frequent foe to the dwellers in the desert… (Cassian circa 416 CE)   Ajax, in Sophocles’ play, after slaughtering cattle…

Poems of disquiet

    Sabi is the color of the poem. It does not necessarily refer to the poem that describes a lonely scene. If a man goes to war wearing stout armor or to a party dressed up in gay clothes, and if this man happens to be an old man, there is something lonely about…