Saturday, February 27, 2010

Scotland-Russia Forum at Edinburgh Uni for lecture on Georgia

At Scotland-Russia Forum at Edinburgh Uni for lecture on Geor... on Twitpic
Ambassador MacLaren of MacLaren top left, myself bottom right.

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'What next for Georgia' a lecture by our ambassador 2004-2007

Donald MacLaren gave a frank and informative lecture to the Scotland Russia Forum last night. He compared Georgia to Scotland. Same size, rich cultural background, mountains and powerful neighbour. He impressed us with their real wish for democracy, freedom and western alignment. He also made us aware of the manpower they had supplied to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The longing for a free press, judicial independence and other freedoms had, he said, been thwarted by what some would call the egomania of president Saakashvili. Donald blames the EU's ineffective diplomacy for the recent war. All the EU said was, 'We urge restraint on both sides'. He thinks we should have adopted the stronger American diplomatic view. The evening ending with Georgian wine. So good I drank too much. I ended up on the set of a Burke and Hare film. Luckily I awoke alive and alone in my own bed. The Scotland Russia Forum, like the Georgians was a good group of people.

Ref: 'A Little War that Shook the World' by R. D. Asmus Feb 2010

According to the article: 'Ossetia's connection to Scotland' by Tim Whewell,

"Centuries ago, possibly during the great migrations of the Dark Ages, some Ossetians went down from the Caucasus and set sail through the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and arrived eventually in a landscape they recognised: Caledonia. In fact, though, they did not just occupy Scotland. They occupied the whole of Western Europe on their fast horses, spreading the chivalrous respect for women that is originally an Ossetian concept. And how do we know they reached Britain? Easy: place names. England's greatest national hero, King Arthur, was Ossetian too, apparently. His name means "solar fire".

The Ossetians are not just like the medieval Scots. As far as they are concerned, they are the Scots. And the Scots are them."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Often I hear a child’s voice softly speak

Often I hear a child’s voice softly speak
and though I cannot understand,
I know she speaks to me.

Is it a language of the North?
If I could hear her words maybe the key
would be as simple as TGA and ACT.

Or is she untranslatable,
a primordial language,
a background radiation,
musical, mathematical,
the Word?

My baby whispers in my ear…

‘Sweet Nothings’
She knows the words I like to hear,
‘Sweet Nothings’.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Good Morning with Pan Pipes

From our bedroom window we were enjoying the first pale green of dawn when my wife mentioned, ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’, a chapter in Graham’s, ‘Wind in the Willows’. I’d never read it but as a teenager it was her favourite book. So as the red then yellow sunrise unfolded behind the trees she read me this passage…

'Clearer and nearer still,' cried the Rat joyously. 'Now you must surely hear it! Ah--at last--I see you do!'
Breathless and transfixed the Mole stopped rowing as the liquid run of that glad piping broke on him like a wave, caught him up, and possessed him utterly. He saw the tears on his comrade's cheeks, and bowed his head and understood. For a space they hung there, brushed by the purple loose-strife that fringed the bank; then the clear imperious summons that marched hand-in-hand with the intoxicating melody imposed its will on Mole, and mechanically he bent to his oars again. And the light grew steadily stronger, but no birds sang as they were wont to do at the approach of dawn; and but for the heavenly music all was marvellously still.
On either side of them, as they glided onwards, the rich meadow-grass seemed that morning of a freshness and a greenness unsurpassable. Never had they noticed the roses so vivid, the willow-herb so riotous, the meadow-sweet so odorous and pervading. Then the murmur of the approaching weir began to hold the air, and they felt a consciousness that they were nearing the end, whatever it might be, that surely awaited their expedition.
A wide half-circle of foam and glinting lights and shining shoulders of green water, the great weir closed the backwater from bank to bank, troubled all the quiet surface with twirling eddies and floating foam-streaks, and deadened all other sounds with its solemn and soothing rumble. In midmost of the stream, embraced in the weir's shimmering arm-spread, a small island lay anchored, fringed close with willow and silver birch and alder. Reserved, shy, but full of significance, it hid whatever it might hold behind a veil, keeping it till the hour should come, and, with the hour, those who were called and chosen.
Slowly, but with no doubt or hesitation whatever, and in something of a solemn expectancy, the two animals passed through the broken tumultuous water and moored their boat at the flowery margin of the island. In silence they landed, and pushed through the blossom and scented herbage and undergrowth that led up to the level ground, till they stood on a little lawn of a marvellous green, set round with Nature's own orchard-trees--crab-apple, wild cherry, and sloe.
'This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me,' whispered the Rat, as if in a trance. 'Here, in this holy place, here if anywhere, surely we shall find Him!'
Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror--indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy--but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. With difficulty he turned to look for his friend and saw him at his side cowed, stricken, and trembling violently. And still there was utter silence in the populous bird-haunted branches around them; and still the light grew and grew.
Perhaps he would never have dared to raise his eyes, but that, though the piping was now hushed, the call and the summons seemed still dominant and imperious. He might not refuse, were Death himself waiting to strike him instantly, once he had looked with mortal eye on things rightly kept hidden. Trembling he obeyed, and raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fullness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humorously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.
'Rat!' he found breath to whisper, shaking. 'Are you afraid?'
'Afraid?' murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. 'Afraid! Of HIM? O, never, never! And yet--and yet--O, Mole, I am afraid!'
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
Sudden and magnificent, the sun's broad golden disc showed itself over the horizon facing them; and the first rays, shooting across the level water-meadows, took the animals full in the eyes and dazzled them. When they were able to look once more, the Vision had vanished, and the air was full of the carol of birds that hailed the dawn.

Pan and Psyche by Reinhold Begas 1858, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Friday, February 05, 2010

'Stop Thief! You're that kid Prometheus with his Blackbird.'

Stop Thief! You're that kid with his Blackbird.'

Real and imagined guilt stalks me, outruns me, guns me down, a would be Prometheus chained to Mount Kazbek, his liver consumed by eagles.

Little maggots prey on my mind. Am I a plagiarist?

I wrote my simple little poem about a blackbird and afterwards, in an unasked for Christmas present book, read ‘The Blackbird of Glanmore’ by Blabbermouth Seamus Heaney. I’d never read him! I didn’t like his poems, his Irish accent and his gift of the gab. Prejudice, but perhaps his popularity and superiority was what I really disliked and me too thick to understand.

p.s. I have since read some of his poems and find them excellent.

Unearthing sins, stirring the leaves,
for I have loved another bird,
black as sequined night,
dancing in the dark.

I don't know who did the engraving of Prometheus. Click to enlarge.

Poor old Prometheus. He thought he did Right. He brought us Fire. But he's OK. On Mount Kazbek I saw his rusted chains.

Irsis replied,

A master called his three servants to him and gave them each a chicken. He told them to take the chicken and go some place where no one can see and kill it. So the three servants left to kill their chickens.

The next day the three servants returned to the master but one of the servants still had his live chicken. So the master said to him, "why didn't you do as I told you and kill your chicken?" And the servant answered," where ever I went the chicken was always looking."

So remember whatever you do or where ever you go the chicken is always unearthing sins.

Seedrum replied,

"Dingo Dawg....... the farmer's chickens.... and his wife ! "

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