Must Be The One Whose Magic Touch Can Change Your Mind

The Walrus and the Carpenter had eaten all the oysters. Alice is confident about which character she prefers. Or is she? “I like the Walrus best,” said Alice, “because you see he was a little sorry for the poor oysters.” “He ate more than the Carpenter, though,” said Tweedledee. “You see he held his handkerchief […]

My Antediluvian Baby, I Love You, Girl

It was a news item that only appealed to two groups of people. The prestigious journal Nature Geoscience reported on July 11 2011 that the sea floor in the North Atlantic seabed “temporarily” lifted above sea level 56 million years ago, before subsiding back into the ocean. Whose imagination was captured by this article? Geoscientists, naturally. And […]

There Is No Difference Between The Johnnies And The Mehmets

Historians can parse wars and write papers, but it’s the poetry and prose of the time that captures the emotions. And the humanism. And the tears. That is why there will never be ‘compassion fatigue’ about Anzac Day. I bring three beautiful human moments to your attention. Mustafa Kemal, later known as Ataturk, was commander […]

Yet Could We Turn The Years Again

Why did you and I shed a tear when Madiba died a few days ago? Was it because he was a hero of our generation? Was it because he was “the most complete man”, as many have said? Was it because he could forgive, and unite, where others would revenge, and tear apart? Perhaps. But […]

Well Then, Give Me Your Pain

I’m not sure that anyone reads Lou Salome, or about Lou Salome, anymore. The peripatetic Russian psychoanalyst and feminist, born in 1861, was linked to famous men of her age, including Ree, Nietzsche, Wagner, Freud and Rilke, among others. In fact, there was a menage of sorts with the first two, the Poet and the […]

Ginsberg Will Howl The Recipe For Heaven

“But in the Wine-presses the human grapes sing not nor dance: They howl and writhe in shoals of torment, in fierce flames consuming, In chains of iron and in dungeons circled with ceaseless fires, In pits and dens and shades of death, in shapes of torment and woe” William Blake wrote as though he experienced […]

A Friend Who Would Understand Me

Anton Chekhov was 38 years old when he wrote “A Case History”. He was already an experienced doctor and evocative writer, and some of his best short stories, including this one, effortlessly combined elements of both medicine and human nature. The dismal grey factory town in “A Case History”,  to which a doctor is summoned, […]